By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
Late Model driver Quin Houff will make his ARCA Racing Series debut with Mason Mitchell Motorsports in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway in February, the team announced on Tuesday morning. The one-race agreement will allow Houff to gain valuable experience with restrictor-plate, superspeedway-style racing under the guidance of 2014 ARCA Racing Series champion and team owner Mason Mitchell and veteran crew chief Kevin Reed.
“I’m going into Daytona being all ears since this is something completely different than I have ever done before with the speeds and the aerodynamics,” Houff said via a team release. “This will definitely be a nerve-wracking and pressure-filled race for me considering this is the only race we have locked in for now in 2017. But at the end of the day, I’m just going to go out there and do what I do to the best of my abilities and leave the rest up to the Lord, and all else will fall into place.”
Houff has recorded two wins in the CARS Super Late Model Tour in 17 starts over the past two seasons. While Houff will be an ARCA rookie, the 19-year-old driver will have a chance to gain experience during the three-day ARCA open test in January at the 2.5-mile track in Daytona Beach.
“It’s great to have a talented and proven driver like Quin Houff racing for us at Daytona,” Mitchell said of the Weyers Cave, Va. native. “He’s done a fantastic job in the late model ranks the last few seasons and has earned this opportunity. We look forward to having success with him at the test and the race at Daytona.”
Houff will be paired with a duo that experienced success last season at Daytona and Talladega, the only two restrictor-plate tracks at which the ARCA Racing Series competes.
Reed guided John Wes Townley to victory lane for Athenian Motorsports in the 2016 season-opener at Daytona and Mitchell called the shots when driver Gus Dean went to victory lane in the team’s flagship No. 98 entry at Talladgea, earning the sixth victory for Mason Mitchell Motorsports in three full-time seasons of competition.
“Luckily, Mason Mitchell Motorsports has a good history at the superspeedways and they have great experience to help me learn along the way. I am beyond excited to get back in a racecar. This all started around the time we were left without a ride,” said Houff, who parted ways with his former team late in the 2016 season.
“We wouldn’t have ended up where we were, had the game plan, or known the ins and outs of the sport if it wasn’t for the help of Performance Marketing Group. They really made us look at whether to focus on the remainder of this season or to start putting our focus on the next and come up with a plan. So, that’s what we did, and I am now fortunate enough to race at Daytona next year, something many dream of doing and it’s definitely a dream come true for me.”