2017 SNMP champion Diaz to make NASCAR Xfinity Series debut Friday

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Southern National Motorsports Park has been the training ground for such NASCAR Cup champions as Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin and now another SNMP racer, Mason Diaz, hopes to make his mark at a higher level.

Diaz, the 2017 Southern National point champion, will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut in the Go Bowling 250 on Friday at Richmond (Virginia) Raceway. 

“It’s always exciting getting a chance to run a new higher series,” Diaz told Austin Langley of Race22.com. “I’m going in with tempered expectations. I’m looking to qualify solidly, run all the laps and keep the fenders on the car. If we can do that, that’ll be a good weekend for us.”

Last fall at Martinsville Speedway, also in Virginia, Diaz ran in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Texas Roadhouse 200, finishing 23rd after late tire trouble took him out of the 12th spot.

Diaz, the son of Michael Diaz of the SNMP ownership group, had previously only raced in the Late Model Stock Car and Super Late Models divisions. Earlier this season, Mason Diaz won in the Pro Late Model division at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna (Florida) Speedway. However, 2018 has not been quite as busy for the Manassas, Virginia, native as Diaz spent most of the summer after graduating high school as the assistant general manager at Southern National. He is a freshman at Old Dominion University.