In 2008, Rick Mitchell captured...
In 2008, Rick Mitchell captured the IMCA Canadian Stock Car Championship while his son Cliff won Rookie of the Year in the same division. Jeri Mitchell
The Mitchells were victims of a track closure when Cranbrook was sold but a move to IMCA Canadian Stock Car division the year before gave them a home although they did have to buy all new cars and equipment. They currently run at three regional tracks the farthest of which requires a 10 and a half hour drive--one way. Couple that with the fact that the payout is a flat amount and you have a race team that really does it for the love of the sport.
"Finish first or finish last you get $80," says Rick. "I love the sport. I'm doing this for my son, too, I'd love to get him the chance to go down south and play with the NASCAR boys."
To that end, Cliff has been pursuing an automotive technology degree and when asked about who builds their engine Rick said, "Well, Cliff built his own but I commandeered it since it would go better than mine."
That engine clearly had an impact in Rick's performance in 2008 as he won the IMCA Canadian Stock Car Division Championship. To put icing on that cake, Cliff won Rookie of the Year in the same division. To accomplish that feat, the father and son duo raced against each other week in and week out.
"He beat me in Lethbridge (Alberta at Bridge County Raceway)," says a proud Rick.
But who's the better driver? "Oh I can't answer that, he's sitting right here," says Rick. When asked the same question, Cliff was quick to give Dad the props. "He's probably the better driver, but we're usually pretty close at the end of the day."
So what do these two guys think about winning a pair of championships? "Awesome--that's about it," says Rick. "It was a really touching moment. To win the championship was the greatest thing in the world and to have him up there getting the rookie trophy, what else can you ask for?"
Cliff's echoes his Dad's comments, "It means so much; it was an emotional day when we found out all of that. It meant a lot. There were a few other guys in the rookie chase with me and I think I beat the other guy by about 35 points. Two Canadian titles in the same household, it's just awesome." Awesome indeed. Neither Rick nor Cliff knew they had won their respective championships until the end of the last race of the season.
The Future In each account of our Street Stock racers we found not only the common thread of hard work, dedication, and racing within a restrictive budget but we also found that aunts, uncles, girlfriends, and entire families make up the traditional Street Stock racer's team. It truly is the backbone of the sport.