Tony Mrakovich Scores Top-15 Finish in First Career Superspeedway Event
Long Pond, PA (June 9, 2017) – Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania’s Tony Mrakovich made his third career ARCA start at his home track, Pocono Raceway in early June. After posting two top-10 finishes at Nashville and Salem earlier in the year, Mrakovich was determined to go three-for-three at the Tricky Triangle.
The 18-year old gained valuable track time during practice on Friday morning, providing him with the opportunity to log his first laps at a superspeedway. The experience paid off as Mrakovich turned in the 11th quickest qualifying time in his No. 11 Cedar Street Supply/Street Stores Toyota later that day. Unfortunately, the qualifying session was cut short and as per ARCA rules, the field was set according to practice times, relegating Mrakovich to the 17th starting position.
Soon after the drop of the green flag for the General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200, the rookie settled in just outside of the top-10 in his Andy Hillenburg owned Camry. “The track came to me very quickly” Mrakovich recalled following the event. Being a quick learner paid off as he continued to log competitive laps and broke into the top-10 as other teams made their pit stops.
Immediately following the team’s first and only pit stop of the day, the caution waived for a stalled car on the track, trapping Mrakovich a lap down. That lap would be regained using the “waive around” under caution but unfortunately, valuable track position was lost.
The Pennsylvania native would once again settle in just outside of the top-10, but the race remained under green flag conditions until the checkered flag waived, depriving Mrakovich of the opportunity to race with the leaders. He would have to settle for a respectable 15th place finish, quite a feat for a first visit to one of the most challenging tracks on the circuit. Still, the young driver was left to wonder what might have been.
“The one stop pit strategy was going to work out for us. If it weren’t for the caution, I feel we had a good chance to finish in the top seven or eight” said Mrakovich following the race. “Even at the end, I had to slow up to save fuel and we gave up a lot of time and lost at least one position. But that is part of racing.”
The longest race of Mrakovich’s young career produced some surprises as well. “I was surprised how much I had to change my line into turns one and three throughout the event” he explained. “Also, in a long race, you see the same drivers come and go. It was sure fun racing against them.”
Mrakovich and team will spend the next several weeks looking for sponsorship with the goal of returning to the track when ARCA makes its second visit to the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania in July.