Darin Mock has a day of learning at Road Atlanta
March 29, 2022
Darin Mock rolled into Road Atlanta last weekend filled with confidence and hope coming off his first TA2 Class Trans Am top-10 of the season the week prior.
He and the No. 51 AAN Adjusters Ford Mustang of Mike Cope Racing had a very productive weekend on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval seven days prior. However, the 19-year-old driver left the Braselton, GA-road course with a notebook filled with lessons learned.
Starting off the race weekend with a solid practice on Thursday and Friday, Mock and Crew Chief Mike Wilkins knew they had a good car.
“We elected to make some race runs on older tires to see what we had for race day,” Mock said. “Other teams put on stickers, but we were looking good and chose to pace on our older tires. We concentrated on race conditions in practice looking to benefit us in Saturday’s race.
“After qualifying 19th in our race set-up, we all felt like we were going to being in a good place for race day.”
And, they were right.
“Once the green flag waved, I started passing cars and worked our way into the top-10 positions,” Mock said. “We were confident more cars were going to be passable as we got towards the end.
“There were a bunch of cautions late in the race and really messed up our momentum somewhat having to slow, then go, then slow.”
Then came the last lap, which was when Mock really started to learn some of those aforementioned valuable lessons
“On the final lap, right after the white flag waved, I was running ninth and went hard into Turn 1 knowing I was setting up the car in front of me to be passed,” he said. “One problem, I spun out.
“The No. 51 AAN Adjusters Ford didn’t suffer any damage when that happened, just my pride. It was awful knowing we had a chance to gain on some of those cars in front of us, and we ended up spun around losing any chance to beat last week’s finish of 10th, and possibly a top-five. What hurt even more was after the race.
“I finished 22nd and found out later quite a few cars in the top-10 were disqualified for rough driving. If that spin doesn’t occur, we had a really good shot at finishing in the top-five.
“The good part is, I learned a lot and am really getting more and more comfortable working with this No. 51 Ford team of Mike Cope Racing.
“Another thing I learned was to let the crew chief know I liked how the car was turning and wanted to keep that part going. But, I knew we should have tightened it up a little for the end.”
Mock and the team will have plenty of time to review those lessons. The next race on their schedule isn’t until April 22 to 24 at Leguna Seca, CA.