Mooney shines in race for rookie award in EQ Cylinder Heads Southern Region

EQ Cylinder Heads South Central Region Rookie of the Year Dustin Mooney. (Photo by Stacy Kolar, Southern Sass Photography)

FORNEY, Texas – A quick learner with a good teacher raced to rookie of the year honors in the EQ Cylinder Heads Southern Region for IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars.

Dustin Mooney won a pair of features and finished in the top five in another 23 starts, finishing just a point behind Cameron Wilkinson in the race for the national prize.

He’d run junior minis, Smiley’s Racing Products Southern SportMods and then winged modifieds before helping girlfriend Taylor Florio and her father Chris with their cars. Mooney got back on the track himself after trading that winged modified for a former Caleb Crenshaw-driven 2016 De­stroyer Chassis. 

“I had not raced in three years. I got the car, scaled it, jumped in it and went racing,” he said. “We left the original body on. The only thing I did was buy shocks.” 

“There was some adaptation and I am not God’s gift,” he added, “but I am a fast learner. Stock Cars are fun to race.” 

He traveled to six different tracks, winning the title at Cotton Bowl Speedway and finishing fifth in points at Heart O’ Texas Speedway. Both Mooney’s rookie season feature wins came at Waco, on Aug. 8 and Aug. 14. 

“I was ecstatic,” he said of the back-to-back checkers. “We had been chasing our tails at the begin­ning of the year. Jason Batt told me to change something on the right front of the car and we won that night. I was like “Wow.” 

Mooney collected another five top five finishes down the stretch, ending third in regional points and 14th nationally.

“Stock Cars are all-around good racing. I like how you have to work your way through the field from the fifth or sixth row to the front, and I liked being able to spend time with Taylor, Chris and my parents,” he said. “I really liked racing with and learning from Jason. He inspired me a bunch about this class.” 

“After the way the season started and with Covid slowing us down, I knew winning a track champion­ship would be possible,” said Mooney. “Jason made it tough but I pretty much stayed in the top five. We never won a feature at Cotton Bowl but we won the track championship.”

Starts-31 Wins-2 Additional Top Fives-23

His Crew: Parents Brent and Ruei Mooney, Taylor, Chris and Traci Florio, Shawn Marsh Jr., J.D. Hardcastle and Anthony Otken.

His Sponsors: Florio Racing Chassis and Mid-Tex Paint and Body, both of Copperas Cove; Mooney’s Racing Engines of Balch Springs; The Touch Up Shop of Caddo Mills; Milt Clark Racing of Wills Point; and CRS Suspension of Belton.