HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – Darin Mock could have claimed the always-favored home field advantage for his success after Saturday’s Trans Am Series TA2 Class race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
But, since he and the rest of the series had never raced a Trans Am event on the ROVAL, the 19-year-old driver of the No. 51 AAN Adjusters Ford of Mike Cope Racing entry can chalk it up to effort.
After starting 14th , Mock raced and survived his way to the first TA2 Class top-10 finish two races into the 2022 season. It was his third top-10 in five overall starts, dating back to last season when he raced in three events. In addition to a noted finished, the Rookie of the Year candidate now sits 11th in TA2 points, just one marker shy of 10th.
“We had a good practice,” Mock said. “But, all of us kept getting shorted during or allotted time because of so many red flags for wrecks and spins. I get that it was our first time here for everyone, it makes it difficult for teams to get a rhythm.
“The good news is, we greatly improved in qualifying. That’s one part I have really been working on because it’s not really my strong point. I was happy to start 14th.”
Once the race started, Mock would utilize a very mature and veteran approach during the TA2 Class event.
“Once we got going, I tried to save my brakes and tires,” he said. “The ROVAL is tough on brakes with so many turns and the speeds we were running. I tried to pace myself so I could be there at the end. Tire wear was another issue we had to keep in mind as part of our race strategy.
“Then, other teams started having problems and I just really started to make and even bigger effort to save. However, I ended up using more than I really wanted to as we got closer to the end.
The ending was quite chaotic with a late-race caution forcing a Green/White/Checkered finish. During those final laps, quite a few cars went off the track or got crashed. Fortunately, Mock wasn’t one of them as he set his sights on finishing in the top-10 positions.
“Towards the end, all bets were off,” he said. “There was a lot of carnage and mayhem taking place and we made it through, thankfully.
“I feel good about what we were able to accomplish and the Mike Cope Racing/AAN Adjusters team really gave me a great Ford. Butch Miller, Mike Wilkens and myself have really started to form a good chemistry and its starting to show up on the racetrack.
“Big thanks for all my family and friends who did come out to Charlotte to support our efforts. Glad we were able to share this with them.
“We don’t have much time to sit around and feel good about our top-10 finish and good points day because we’re heading to Road Atlanta to do it all over again this coming weekend.”