HUNTERSVILLE, NC – Darin Mock was battling the highly-competitive layout at Circuit of the America’s in Austin, TX for the first time, the other 52 TA2 TransAm drivers and a lack of practice before qualifying and racing this past weekend.
Mock started the race weekend with a shortened practice session. When it’s a driver’s first time wheeling the No. 51 AAN Adjusters Ford Mustang around the tricky 20-turn course of COTA, that’s not to a driver’s advantage. The results showed when he qualified the Mike Cope Racing Team entry 24th for the initial green flag.
“I really wish we could have gotten both practice sessions in before qualifying,” Mock said. “The track on its own just demands you being on your toes and hit every mark you can to be competitive.
“Also, having a 53-car field was a little daunting. When it’s your first time there, you want every piece of knowledge and experience you can gather when it comes time to race and that’s what they’re doing, too.
Once the 26-lap race did get underway, Mock was able to work his way forward. Battling tight racing conditions with other drivers, he was able to start earning some spots as the laps ticked down.
When the green flag flew, Mock brought the No. 51 Ford Mustang across the line in 17th place.
“I’ll tell you what, I don’t think I ever worked so hard for a finish like that during any race,” Mock said. “I just used every single lap and turn to gain experience and keep learning.
“I learned a lot, so I’m thankful for the opportunity to do that at COTA for when I return. It was also a bittersweet race with it being my last one with Mike Cope Racing.
“On a good note, I would like to congratulate my teammate Thomas Merrill, on winning the championship. I’m very happy for him and it was well deserved.
“Finding about Coy Gibbs on Sunday after the race was tough. Ty raced with Mike Cope and I have known him for awhile. My heartfelt sympathies and prayers to Ty and the entire Gibbs family.”
With his tenure at Cope coming to an end, Mock was very appreciative of his experiences with the team.
“I have to give a huge thanks to everyone at Mike Cope Racing for all we achieved while racing together,” Mock said. “I went to tracks I’ve never seen before, we raced hard and had some good results along the way.
“I will forever be grateful to all I’ve learned with the team and the fun times had with them.”
Look for further details regarding Mock’s racing future to emerge soon.