Mingus Reflects on Positive Rookie Season on Dirt

Kevin Mingus. (DB3 Imaging)

Kevin Mingus. (DB3 Imaging)
Kevin Mingus. (DB3 Imaging)
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HURON, Ohio (November 2, 2016) – The learning curve was huge for Kevin Mingus in 2016, which was his rookie season in a winged sprint car on dirt and his first full season behind the wheel of a late model on asphalt.

“I knew I had a lot to learn this season, but thankfully everyone on both teams were patient and we worked together and made huge strides throughout the year,” he said. “I’ll never forget this year. It was a wild 2016. That’s the most races I have ever competed in during one season.”

On the late model side, Mingus and the Brandon Oakley Racing team struggled early in the year with qualifying.

“Those two laps determine how your night’s going to go,” he said. “Qualifying has always been my weak point. Race-wise we ran very well. I started at Columbus Motor Speedway in a winged sprint in 2011 and ran there three or four times a year until 2014. Then we won a feature and championship there. Eleven months later I got my first late model win there and this year we finished fifth in the state points and sixth in track points.”

This year was the final season for Columbus Motor Speedway in Columbus, Ohio, as the track has been sold for development.

“It’s sad … Columbus is a driver’s track,” Mingus said. “The fans, the competitors, the track personnel … it’s just an unbelievable atmosphere. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to race there this past year. I can’t thank Brandon and the guys enough for all their hard work.”

Prior to the 2016 season, Mingus had raced primarily on asphalt. That changed last winter when he got a call from Kurt Huber, who owns and had driven a 305ci sprint car on dirt.

“I had raced against Kurt a few times a couple of years ago on asphalt and even got into an altercation on the track,” Mingus said with a laugh. “I’m so thankful I got that call from Kurt. My dad and I met with Kurt and Martha … Dad and I were all for it, but we had to convince mom.”

The results don’t illustrate the growth the new team accomplished in 2016.

“We never tore anything up,” Mingus said. “I learned how dirt tracks change over the course of a night. It’s a huge challenge when you get tracks that get dry and slick or rough. I learned how to run the cushion and how to run the bottom with finesse. I got to watch other drivers and talk to them and my learning curve accelerated very quickly.

“It was so much fun also learning how to communicate with the crew and Kurt was unbelievably helpful explaining things to me. It all came together at Limaland. We put a new package on the car … and the light bulb went off. It was a huge momentum builder.”

His best result came in his final race as he charged from 18th to seventh place during his debut at Millstream Speedway in Findlay, Ohio.

So what’s in store for Mingus in 2017?

“With the late model we plan to run a part-time schedule with the CRA (Champion Racing Association) Sportsman,” he said. “It’s going to be a fantastic learning experience.

“For the sprint car, we’re going to upgrade our parts and engine package and plan on more races. We might race all of the FAST (Fremont Attica Sprint Title) series and the majority if not all of the Attica events. We have a lot of notes and video to build off for 2017.”