Sweet Redemption for Kyle Mitchell in Second Night of
Pro Challenge Winternationals
Georgia Region Champion Leads Every Lap Just One Night After Disqualification
Mitchell appeared to have
scored a fine second-place run in the first night of Pro Challenge
Winternationals, but instead he left
But there was still work
to be done. Rather than succumb to the doubters, Mitchell came back to
“Last night was great for us on the track,” said Mitchell. “I raced really hard and it was a great race, but things just didn’t work out the way we wanted them to. That was just something that happens in racing, but tonight everything was perfect. Just like last night, everything started off right, only this time it ended right too. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Mitchell qualified for the outside-front row starting spot, along side fast timer and Friday night’s Winternationals victor Dennis Thomson. At the drop of the green flag, Mitchell got the jump on the high side and led the field into turn one. Mitchell continued to stretch his lead throughout the race, which gave the defending Canada Region champion Thomson hope that maybe Mitchell was going too fast, too soon.
“I kind of planned on letting him get a good lead there at the beginning,” said Thomson. “He’s a young guy, he’s kind of pumped up, so I let him set the pace. I was hoping that he would use it up a little bit and I could come back later, but no, he was on it.”
Thomson’s car kept getting smaller and smaller in Mitchell’s rear view mirror as he continued to stretch the lead in the final laps. Friday night, the roles had been reversed, as it was Mitchell who was chasing Thomson. Mitchell was right on Thomson’s bumper at the checkered flag, but the second-place finish was taken away in tech.
Saturday night, however, having Thomson on his bumper nor post-race inspection were going to be an issue for Mitchell. He cruised to victory a mere 24 hours after having a long discussion with his father, Boots, to come back to redeem themselves after their hard luck Friday night.
“It was a big shoot-down last night,” said Mitchell. “It really hurt everything we came in here with. We wanted to come here and do good. The race last night was perfect and we wanted to do everything right. It was hard to take something that we worked so hard for and have it thrown away like that.
“Tonight, I said packing up and leaving would be a sign to everyone else that we were running away. It would be like if we can’t fix our problem, we’ll just run away from them. I don’t live like that and I don’t race like that. If I run into a problem, I’m going to face it head-on. We came out here tonight to prove to everybody that I could win straight-up. I had the car and I had the talent to do it, but I couldn’t have done it without my dad.”
Jamie Blanton improved on his fourth-place finish on Friday night with a strong third-place run Saturday behind Mitchell and Thomson, while Zach Stroupe and Scott Hitchens rounded out the top-five.
Pro Challenge Winternationals continues Sunday night, but the location switches from Orlando SpeedWorld to the fast half-mile at New Smyrna Speedway (FL). The Pro Challenge drivers will conclude this year’s Winternationals at New Smyrna on Monday, February 12th.
For more information on the Pro Challenge Winternationals, contact Matt Kentfield at (704) 455-2051 x 5. The official website of Pro Challenge racing, www.prochallengeseries.com, will be providing trackside updates from the tracks throughout Winternationals weekend.
February 10, 2007
1. Kyle Mitchell
2. Dennis Thomson
3. Jamie Blanton
4. Zach Stroupe
5. Scott Hitchens
6. Dean McIntyre
7. Ken Nicholson
8. J.L. Snowden
9. Duke Furr
10. Malcolm McMaster
11. Steve Strandlund
12. Terry Mathis
13. Ryan Rust
14. Jason Burchard
15. Trevor Cauble
16. Jason Treschl
18. Terry Horak
19. Thomas Hartensveld