By Richie Murray
Speedway, Indiana (January 24, 2023)………Just prior to the kickoff of his sophomore season on the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship trail, Mitchel Moles is taking a weeklong hunting expedition.
Throughout the 2023 season, the Raisin City, Calif. native will find himself on the hunt for a championship as he tackles the full series schedule for the first time aboard the Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports No. 19AZ.
Moles is fresh off a superb Rookie USAC Sprint Car season in 2022 in which he became a first-time series winner last July at South Dakota’s Huset’s Speedway and once more later that same month for his initial USAC Indiana Sprint Week triumph at Lincoln Park Speedway.
The towering 6’3” tall Moles quickly served notice with his consistently stirring qualifying runs, tallying eight quick times in 2022, which were the most ever by a USAC National Sprint Car Rookie.
Moles’ 11th place finish in the series points wasn’t entirely indicative of his performance during the past season as he didn’t make his first start until May. Along the way, Moles made appearances in just 27 of the 39 events, and in that time frame, the 23-year-old former professional bass fishing extraordinaire led 107 laps and collected six top-fives and 19 top-tens.
Now, with a calendar year of USAC racing under his belt, Moles is ready to tackle his biggest challenge with the series yet – a pursuit of the National title in the seat for the same team which won the 2019 series entrant title with driver C.J. Leary.
“It’s definitely always been a dream of mine to be able to do this,” Moles stated. “I’ve never really raced for points in a sprint car before at any level, so that’ll be cool. (Team owner) Andy (Reinbold) and I click really well together, and as always, our goal is to win and not settle for anything less. We’re trying win to win a championship and that’s our goal.”
While the majority of Moles’ finest performances came on tracks of a larger scale, he did display plenty of signs of brilliance on the quarter miles as he got his feet wet with the series, finishing inside the top-five at both Gas City (3rd) and Kokomo (5th). However, among his goals in the coming year is to find more consistency in all facets, especially on the “bullrings.”
After several seasons in winged sprint cars and micro sprints, lessons were learned in droves during Moles’ first USAC foray, and he experienced an abundance of scenarios from the triumphant variety to the frustration that is commonplace in year one. Now, entering year two, Moles is ready to take the next step into becoming a well-rounded racer who can excel at any challenge anywhere, any place.
“Non-wing cars are so driven by the throttle,” Moles explained. “Sometimes wide-open doesn’t do it. A lot of times, it works during qualifying, but after that, it takes a little time, and it took me a little while to learn that. I just need to work at being better overall more than anything. My goal isn’t to be good on the fast half-miles that I’m better at, my goal is to be good on everything. That’s what Justin (Grant) does and that’s what Brady (Bacon) and C.J. (Leary) do. They’re good on all of them and that’s why they’re national champions. You’ve got to be good all the time, not half the time.”
Moles will make his 2023 debut with the USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National Championship with a weeklong assignment in Florida during the month of February, starting with a pair of non-points, special events at Volusia Speedway Park on February 13-14, followed by the first three points races of the year at Bubba Raceway Park on February 16-17-18.
“I just want to hammer the thing and get going,” Moles exclaimed. “Andy has given me great stuff with Stanton Engines and Spike Chassis, which gives us everything we need, and I can’t thank him enough for the opportunity. I’m just going to try and have as much fun as we can and win some races.”