HUNTERSVILLE, NC – Darin Mock was born into a family name synonymous with racing history. Now, at 19-years old, he will carry on the tradition via his own endeavors competing in the TA2 Trans Am Series No. 51 AAN Adjusters Ford for Mike Cope Racing.
Darin’s dad, Butch Mock, owned a successful and winning NASCAR Cup Series team for years and when he sold the team, the racing connection never fully went away. It’s now getting carried on by Darin, who quickly knew the Mock name would continue in the sport once he got behind the wheel.
“The first time I got in a go-kart at age 13, put on the helmet and pulled the visor down – I knew this is what I wanted to do,” said Mock, who is in Sebring, FL preparing for the TA2 Class opener this weekend. “I’m a competitive person and I want to win.
“I went to all those tracks with my dad watching races and all my friends were involved in racing. Racing is all I’ve ever known.”
Last year, Mock competed in the NASA Southeast Spec Iron Series. In just his sophomore year, he chased down the points and race leader executing a last-lap pass to claim the win, and series championship.
He also competed three times in the TA2 Trans Am Series. Driving for Mike Cope Racing, Mock and his dad both quickly realized this was the next step in his driving career.
This year, he’ll pilot the No. 51 Ford in all 12 races as one of three Cope-owned entrees.
“After the Spec Iron deal, we didn’t really know what we were going to do next,” Mock said. “My dad and I looked at oval track racing, ISMA and a few other possibilities.
“This is the best racing for the cost and something we could do and work on the cars together. We are both hands on when it comes to what I race.
“The competition is great and provides me with the greatest challenge. Every driver out there races hard to be competitive.”
Mike Cope, an accomplished racer himself with 31 NASCAR starts, 14 wins in the NASCAR Southeast Series and 10 ASA victories and championships, started his own race team in 2010. In 2013, he became an approved chassis builder for the Trans Am Series and has entered several cars in each event.
Now, he has the young Mock under his wing and looking for success.
“With Darin, we have a unique situation,” said Cope, from his headquarters in Clearwater, FL. “Most young drivers are looking for the next NASCAR deal, but Darin wants to go road racing. I’ve been nothing but impressed by him as a driver and person. His parents have done a great job raising him, that’s for sure.
“He’s already had some success wining the Spec Iron championship last and we spotted his talent very quickly in the three races he ran with us. He’s only going to get better.
“The best part is, Darin is the type of person who makes you want to work harder for him. He believes in our cars and we believe in him.”
Cope is the lead chassis manufacturer of the TA Class and will have 22, of 49, entries in this weekend’s Sebring race.
Like any racing series, sponsorship is key to being successful. Ken Gilreath, President of AAN Adjusters out of Knoxville, TN, has been part of racing sponsorships in the past. Now, he and the company are putting their time and dime behind the young Mock in TA2.
“We have helped out NASCAR Xfinity and Truck teams in the past,” Gilreath said. “Myself, my son and daughter-in-law all race in TA2, as well. When we met Butch and he started telling us about Darin, we took a good look at him and his abilities.
“We hit it off immediately and quickly realized Darin is not only a good driver, but he’s an even better person, comes from a good family and is very appreciative of the opportunities. The other thing that piqued our interest is when it was announced the races will be on CBS Sports this year for more people to see.
“The team used the basis of our car to make the design for his No. 51 he’ll be racing this year. I thought that was pretty special and we all look forward to see how well Darin will do this year.
As far as Mock’s intentions and goals for this year, he has them set already.
“I’m challenging for the TA2 Series Rookie of the Year title, for sure,” he said. “My other goal is to have some podium finishes towards the end of the year, and I think both of those are very attainable.”
You can watch Mock begin his quest on CBS Sports this weekend from Sebring International Raceway.