DUQUOIN, Ill. – It’s the ARCA version of the Final Four, a spectacular play-off picture that kicks off this Labor Day Monday, Sept. 1 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds mile-dirt in the 61st running of the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care.
And if you’re going to be the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards champion in the series’ 62nd season, you had better hone up on your dirt track skills because, for championship contenders Mason Mitchell and Grant Enfinger, it’s coming down to a nostalgic, historic horse track in southern Illinois.
“I love it. The fact that the dirt tracks are going to play such a huge part in the championship,” said Mitchell, who leads Enfinger by just 25 points, or five positions on the track. “The dirt tracks really challenge everyone…the driver, the pit crew, everyone. But that’s what makes the ARCA champion so cool, you gotta be so good at so many different race tracks.
“I’m pretty confident in our dirt track program; we obviously had a good run at Springfield. We’re good enough and strong enough to win at DuQuoin. Last year, we actually did a better job at DuQuoin than we did at Springfield, and this year, we ran second at Springfield, so we’re very confident in our ability to get the job done at DuQuoin.”
Beyond the wild-card element of dirt track racing, Mitchell’s clear-cut on his championship strategy.
“It’s not hard to figure it out. We’ve got to finish ahead of the 90 (Enfinger), but the way he runs everywhere, that means we’ve got to win the race. I feel like to win the championship, we’ve got to win at DuQuoin.”
Enfinger, who, in no way, considers himself a dirt track guy, is ready for the challenge ahead.