For a driver only in his early 20s, Zack Mitchell is already compiling an impressive resume on the dirt tracks throughout the Carolinas and the Southeast. One year following his Carolina Clash Super Late Model championship the Enoree, SC racer added the Ultimate Super Late Model Series title to his collection in 2018.
Mitchell posted wins at Laurens County Speedway and Lancaster Speedway on the Ultimate Series tour during the season. Further, the No. 57 finished the top-10 a total of twelve times in the fourteen races held over the course of the campaign.
The title battle came down to the final race of the year between Mitchell, Kyle Hardy and Joey Coulter. Mitchell won the crown by virtue of a tie-breaker over Hardy.
“It means the world to us,” Mitchell proclaimed in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “We’ve had some good competition this year with Kyle and Joey and the rest of them. It’s been a tight points battle all year. I mean, heck, it came down to a tie. We’ve been working our tails off and I can’t thank all my help enough and all my sponsors. We’ve had a great year.”
Not only is winning championships good for the morale of the team but such success also helps keep the budget balanced. And for a regional team, those added funds mean a great deal in terms of getting ready for the next season.
“It definitely helps a ton with the points fund and all that here at the end of the year, especially with people like us when it comes to going through motors and refreshing them and all that,” Mitchell explained. “You don’t ever know when you’re going to tear a motor up or tear a race car up. It always helps to have a little bit of money in the bank. It helps out a ton and it lifts you up for the next season too because you’re coming off a high note. I ain’t really sure what the plans are next year, but we’ll definitely be back at it.”
Many drivers and teams who do not intend to compete on one of the national series go into each season with no particular plan to run a full series of any kind. That was the case going into 2018 for Mitchell and his crew but their early season success on the Ultimate Southeast Series encouraged them to seek the title that pays out $20,000 to its season-long champion.
“We were going to just kind of play it by ear the first couple of races of the year and if we started out good and had some good runs that was fine, we could run the whole deal,” the driver explained. “But if we had had one of those deals where the first couple of races hadn’t went our way we would probably have just backed up and picked and chose where we went. But we started off on a good note and then it’s kind of hard not to run them all.”
And Mitchell’s success was not limited to the Ultimate tour. The No. 57 also pulled into victory lane in Carolina Clash races at the Cherokee Speedway and Lancaster Speedway. But he admits that racing for a championship can sometimes cause a driver to alter his strategy.
“In points racing you have to be a lot more conservative versus when you come to a race where you’re not racing for points,” Mitchell said. “I’m not saying that when you go to a points race you don’t want to win or you’re just settling for running good because you definitely want to win every time you get out on the track. But you can’t quite take the chances sometimes in a points race that you could in a race where you’re not racing for points.”
So with the success the driver once dubbed ‘Kid Quick’ has experienced to this point, is Mitchell pleased with where his career has taken him to this point?
“Of course, I feel like we’re right where we need to be especially with the experience we have,” he declared. “I feel like we’re in a good position. I’d love to get better and be one of the best, but like I said, I feel like we’re right where we need to be.”