As the Xfinity Series season draws to a close, a young up-and-coming ARCA Menards Series driver will hop into a series seat to finish the year strong.
Mason Diaz will take over the Sam Hunt Racing No. 26 Toyota for the final two races of the season – Martinsville this upcoming weekend, and the season finale at Phoenix Raceway.
Diaz has four previous starts in the Xfinity series, placing a best 19th at Richmond Raceway in 2018 with Brandonbilt Motorsports.
“This is a great opportunity to run for a fantastic new team,” Diaz said. “I’m really looking forward to the challenges I face without having any practice or qualifying. These are longer races than what I typically run but I think it will be an absolute blast to work with everyone at Sam Hunt Racing. I’m extremely thankful to everyone who has made this opportunity possible and hopefully we can come away with two good finishes to end the year.”
The 20-year-old is no stranger to the iconic short track of Martinsville. He has made multiple late model starts at the track and one Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series start where he finished 23rd in 2017 after qualifying 9th.
The young driver for Toyota has been racing across the ARCA Menards trio of series with Venturini Motorsports. Recently his best finishes include 4th at Bristol Motor Speedway, 3rd at Dover International Speedway, and 2nd at Kern County Raceway Park.
“Mason is a true racer,” owner Sam Hunt said. “He’s a gritty kid that is close to his roots and understands what goes into racing at this level. The challenge of hopping into an Xfinity car without practice at a place as tough as Martinsville or Phoenix is no easy task, especially coming from the rear; but I know he is up for the challenge and most importantly, he’s genuinely grateful for the opportunity. We’ll use Martinsville as a chance for Mason to acclimate to the team and car, and hopefully carry momentum to Phoenix and finish the season on a high note.”
The young team has had quite a few notable finishes this season in the Xfinity Series, including 12th at the Indianapolis road course, and 16th at Kansas Speedway earlier this year.
Eddie Troconis will call the shots as crew chief for Diaz’s two starts, while former crew chief Bryan Smith will move to a management role at the team.
As for the 2021 plans for Sam Hunt Racing, the team is evaluating multiple opportunities for the future.
“This team has strategically been built brick by brick over time, and with the support of some incredible people and partners, we’re fortunate enough to now be in a position to entertain potential 2021 candidates with a lot to offer,” Hunt said. “We provide a modern, competitive, and value packed platform in the Xfinity Series for drivers to learn and showcase their talents directly in front of Toyota Cup Series Organizations such as Joe Gibbs Racing. We have a lot of great people currently involved in this program and have some great potential additions we are looking into for next year.”
You can see Diaz hit the track at Martinsville on Saturday, October 31st for the Draft Top 250 at 3:30PM EST on NBC and the NBC Sports App.