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Mrakovich struggles at ARCA ‘home’ race in Poconos

Posted 6/6/18

The ARCA General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 represented a homecoming for Elizabethtown’s Tony Mrakovich.

The Tricky Triangle at Pocono Raceway is just 120 miles from where he grew up, …

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Mrakovich struggles at ARCA ‘home’ race in Poconos

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The ARCA General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 represented a homecoming for Elizabethtown’s Tony Mrakovich.

The Tricky Triangle at Pocono Raceway is just 120 miles from where he grew up, providing the rookie with an opportunity to compete in front of friends and family. Mrakovich’s family owns the Street Stores Hardware store in Middletown.

The No. 11 Street Stores Hardware/Cedar Street Supply Chevrolet was running times in the top half of the field during practice Friday. With about 12 minutes left to go in practice, the back-end came around on the Fast Track Chevy on the exit of turn three. The resulting damage was cosmetic and repairable but would affect the race later that day.

The 19-year-old took the green-flag in the 16th starting position but trouble found him as soon as he hit the tunnel turn on the first lap. Both he and the No. 46 car of Thad Moffit spun almost simultaneously, leading Mrakovich to believe there was something on the track.

“It was the strangest thing,” he reported back on the radio. “Both the 46 and I just started to go around without any warning.”

The team pitted for four new tires and repaired minor damage. Mrakovich would remain midpack as he and the team battled to fix a loose condition. Mrakovich spun again when attempting to enter pit road but did not sustain serious damage.

It looked like the afternoon was taking a turn for the better when the caution waved with 26 laps remaining and Mrakovich was awarded the “free pass.” However, on the restart, his Chevrolet broke loose in turn two, collecting other cars and ending his day, finishing 21st.

In four previous ARCA starts, Mrakovich did not have a single wreck, including his first run at Pocono in 2017.

He said later that some of the remaining damage from his practice crash contributed to the chronically loose condition he battled during the race.

“I really had fun early on this week at Pocono but it just didn’t end the way we would have liked. We started out with a pretty good car in practice and just kept flirting with that edge to get as much speed out of it as possible,” Mrakovich said. “We overstepped the adjustments and the track changed a lot. I never had a car that free. Everyone at Fast Track Racing worked their tails off to get us back in shape after my mistake in practice.”

“I really hate that we tore up multiple race cars in that late wreck,” he added.