CHARLOTTE (August 3, 2023) – Headed back to the Music City, Darin Mock is hoping a special paint scheme on his No. 51 Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang will bring him a little extra luck when the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series hits the streets of Nashville. With longtime supporter Ken Gilreath backing Mock’s effort with AAN Adjusters, another one of Gilreath’s companies will be featured on the hood for the special scheme—Gilreath Farms.
“I’m really excited to head back to Nashville this weekend for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix,” said Mock. “It will be extra special to have Gilreath Farms featured on the car. I got a chance to head out there last month to present Ken with my very first AAN firesuit and actually see the farm in person. It’s really impressive. Knowing Ken [Gilreath] and all that he’s accomplished in the business world, it’s a real honor to represent his companies on and off the track.”
Giving the livery an extra personal touch, fans will notice photos incorporated into the wrap that were taken on the Knoxville, Tenn., farm located just 200 miles east of Nashville. A family-owned cattle farm running anywhere from 75 to 100 head of registered Red Angus and Scottish Highlander cows, Gilreath and his wife, Tina, purchased Gilreath Farms in 2013. The project allows the third-generation farmer and entrepreneur to live out his passion for both.
“We own a farm and some overnight rental cabins, and we run two insurance claims businesses,” explained Gilreath. “I’m looking forward to seeing the car. It’s a design that we came up with that we’re actually running on Darin’s car, the NASCAR XFINITY car that we’re sponsoring—both at Indianapolis and Bristol—and on our own TA2 car that we use for club racing. We’re basically doing a branding campaign with it.”
With Gilreath Farms featured on the hood, another of Gilreath’s companies—AAN Adjusters—will be on the rear quarter panels. Mock has been representing the brand since he first joined the TA2 series in 2021. AAN Adjusters is an independent adjusting firm started by Gilreath in 2004, primarily as a property claims company.
“I met [Ken and Tina] probably three or four years ago at a NASA race,” recalled Mock. “They were parked next to us, and we just hit it off. As the relationship grew, we jokingly said, ‘Hey, would you be interested in sponsoring a TA2 car?’ They said, ‘Sure!’ He’s been very loyal to me and has stuck with me ever since. This is a big race for them, being based in Knoxville. They’re going to have a lot of clients and guests there, so I’ll hopefully get a good finish for them in their backyard.”
In his first year with TA2 powerhouse Nitro Motorsports, Mock has had five top-10 finishes in the eight Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series races to date. Coming off of a pair of back-to-back top 10s, including a seventh-place finish at Road America to tie his career-best result, the 20-year-old is currently tied for fifth in the championship standings.
“We’ve had a really good year so far,” said Mock. “It’s been a bit of a learning year for me after switching teams over the off-season, but I feel like I’m gelling really well with the Nitro team and my crew chief, Ron Otto. We’ve had good speed. I’ve had to work on a few things as a driver. I’m racing a whole different group of people than I was racing last year because we’re doing so much better. So, I’m getting used to the competition, as well as working on the dialogue with my crew chief to relay to him what I need out of the car. It’s been good working with Brent [Crews] and Thomas [Annunziata] as teammates. We work really well together.”
Recording his first top-10 finish on a street course in Detroit this June, the Mooresville native has some insight for what it will take to improve on his past results at the Music City Grand Prix.
“Qualifying is going to be key,” commented Mock. “Like any other street course, it’s really tight. This is a little bit more technical of a circuit than Detroit. There aren’t really as many passing opportunities at Nashville, so it’s riskier to pick up positions—you either have to take more chances or be quite a bit faster to get by somebody at Nashville. This event seems to be a race of attrition, so if we can qualify well and survive to be there at the end, there’s a good chance that it’ll be a pretty good day.”
Darin Mock will kick off the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix weekend with an appearance at FanFest with his No. 51 Darin Mock Gilreath Farms/AAN Adjusters/Nitro Motorsports Ford Mustang. The free event will take place on Thursday, August 3 on Broadway between 2nd and 3rd Streets from 5 to 7:30 p.m. CT.
The on-track action begins on Friday with a pair of practice sessions. Qualifying is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. CT on Saturday, before the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix is contested on the streets of Nashville at 3:40 p.m. CT. The 46-lap/75-minute race will air live on MAVTV, with the national broadcast kicking off at 5:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. CT. A live stream of the race will also be available on The Trans Am Series and SpeedTour TV YouTube channels beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. CT, and a 60-minute highlight show will air on MAVTV on Thursday, August 10 at 8 p.m. ET.