Little-Known Mitchell is ARCA's Best 2012 Producer
That is all it took for Mason Mitchell to do his damage in the ARCA Series. In those races, Mitchell, an 18-year-old Super Late Model regular from Des Moines, finished 10th at Iowa, fifth at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana, fifth at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway and seventh in the season finale at Kansas. The results were not particularly eyebrow-raising and certainly not worth mentioning in the halls of a NASCAR shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, but they definitely were one thing: productive.
Mitchell’s four races for Eddie Sharp Racing were more productive than any other ARCA driver’s season in 2012. Even within the ESR organization, Mitchell’s average ARCA race finish of 6.75 bested the more ballyhooed likes of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Cale Gale (7.0) and Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing development driver Kyle Larson (13.0).
While his production rating, 5.500, could make for a historic season if kept going for the entire 19-race series tilt, it does not necessarily indicate future success. The argument of small sample size is a relevant one, especially when those questioning whether Mitchell would be able to produce at this powerful pace for a full year can point to Dakoda Armstrong as the latest short season archetype.
In 2011 Armstrong competed in six ARCA races with Cunningham Motorsports, netting a win at Winchester, a fourth-place finish, two eighth-place finishes and two sub top-10 performances at the restrictor plate tracks. Those showings — all finishes in the top half of the field — for what was then a part-time race team, put him atop the production ratings board with a 6.083 PEER. By this account, Armstrong is an inherently good ARCA Series competitor; however, this has not translated to success for him in the Truck Series.
Piloting entries for ThorSport Racing and, most recently, Turner Motorsports, Armstrong has been a replacement-level racer in his rookie season. Through 15 races, he tallied a 0.067 PEER. His best finish was a third-place score at Michigan that ended in a position-jumbling fuel mileage run (he averaged a running position of 13th in that race).
Not to disparage higher-level NASCAR teams from taking a look at Mitchell, but recent history is certainly not in his corner. Until he is able to produce at this level in a full season of competition, feelings of his merits will be rightfully met with some trepidation. Still, being productive is being productive and Mitchell made that point known in his cup-of-coffee stint in the ARCA Series ... Read More
MotorsportsAnalytics.com is a subscription-based web site that brings advanced statistical concepts created for evaluating drivers and teams to the every day race fan. The web site has been featured in USA Today and Sports Business Daily and on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s NASCAR Channel.