Long Pond, PA (June 5, 2018) -The ARCA General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 represented a homecoming for Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania’s Tony Mrakovich. The Tricky Triangle is just 120 miles from where he grew up, providing the rookie with an opportunity to compete in front of friends and family.
The No. 11 Street Stores Hardware/Cedar Street Supply Chevrolet was running times in the top half of the field during practice. Both team and driver were focused on pushing the limit to get the most out the car, which was paying off until just twelve minutes left to go in practice. That’s when the back-end came around on the Fast Track Chevy on the exit of turn three. The resulting damage was cosmetic and repairable but would have long lasting impacts into the race later that day.
Mrakovich took the green-flag in the 16th starting position but trouble found him as soon as he hit the tunnel turn on the first lap. Both the 19-year old and the No. 46 of Thad Moffit spun almost simultaneously leading Mrakovich to believe there was something on the track. “It was the strangest thing” he reported back on the radio. “Both the 46 and I just starting go around without any warning”.
The team pitted for four new tires and repaired minor damage. Mrakovich would remain mid-pack as he and the team battled to fix a loose condition. Mrakovich spun again when attempting to enter pit road but did not sustain serious damage.
It looked like the afternoon was taking a turn for the better when the caution waved with 26 laps remaining and Markovich was awarded the “free pass”. Following a pit stop to make further adjustments, and getting back on the lead lap, the team was ready to finish strong and salvage a top-15 finish after an eventful afternoon. That effort ended prematurely on the restart when his Chevrolet broke loose in turn two, collecting other cars and ending his day, finishing 21st.
In four previous ARCA starts, Mrakovich did not have a single wreck, including his first run at Pocono in 2017. After some reflection following the race, he believes that some of the remaining damage from his practice crash contributed to the chronically loose condition he battled during the race. Still, he is not one to make excuses and left the Pocono Mountains feeling bad for the team.
“I really had fun early on this week at Pocono but it just didn’t end the way we would have liked. We started out with a pretty good car in practice and just kept flirting with that edge to get as much speed out of it as possible” recalled Mrakovich. We overstepped the adjustments and the track changed a lot. I never had a car that free. Everyone at Fast Track Racing worked their tails off to get us back in shape after my mistake in practice.”
“The team never game up, continuing to work on it throughout the race until I finally lost it off of the tunnel turn and collected a few others” Mrakovich continued. “I really hate that we tore up multiple race cars in that late wreck and I hate it even more for my Fast Track Racing crew who worked so hard to get the car back in to shape.”
Even after a bad day at the office, Mrakovich shared his appreciation for all the support he continues to receive. “I’m so thankful for Street Stores Hardware, Cedar Street Supply, Fast Track Racing and all of my family and friends for their support! I wish we could have given them all a better showing but we learned a lot and will take it and move on.”
Mrakovich knows that this is still only the beginning and has already starting thinking about the next steps. “There are a lot of highs and lows in racing and I believe you just can’t get to caught up in either.”
Look for more announcements regarding the remainder of Mrakovich’s 2018 ARCA schedule soon!