Fredericksburg, Virginia – When an individual needs help, another comes over to help the one in need. That explains to a “T” of how Darrell Basham Racing and Mullins Racing rallied together to help accomplish a career season for everyone involved.
The season started out promising for the Basham-Mullins combo, as Willie Mullins stepped behind the wheel of his No. 34 Ford, with direction from long-time ARCA car owner Andy Belmont. Mullins piloted his machine to a career-best 8th place finish at the Daytona International Speedway in the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire. Both Mullins Racing and Darrell Basham Racing was excited after this finish, as they looked to us this momentum to help kick start their 2016 ARCA Racing Series campaign.
After Daytona, Mike Basham took control of the No. 34 racing machine, as he took on two of the most challenging short tracks on the schedule: The Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and the Salem Speedway. Both with a long racing history; and both known for being rough on drivers. In these two outings, Basham raced his race, and brought home his car with no damage and two solid Top-20 finishes, 20th and 19th respectively.
Basham handed over the steering wheel back over to Mullins and his team, as they looked to conquer the high-banked Talladega Superspeedway.
With Mullins back in the driver seat, he was poised to continue his momentum, qualifying a career-best 6th place starting position. Throughout the race, he maintained this position, before a last lap accident forced him to a 17th place finish.
Despite his sour end to Talladega, both Mullins and Basham looked to continue the team’s momentum as the season continued.
Mike Basham once again took the reins of the No. 34 entry, this time at the series’ home track, the Toledo Speedway. He once again showed his consistency behind the wheel, piloting his way to his third consecutive Top-20 finish, finishing 19th.
After Toledo, Mullins took over the No. 34 for the final time in 2016, as he was hungry to get to his niche, road course racing. Outside of Daytona and Talladega, his only ARCA Racing Series starts came at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. Mullins did everything possible to score another career day, as he found himself in a great position to do just that. Then tragedy struck. A tire issues forced him to fall laps down late in the race, as he finished 15th.
Once again, the Basham family took over the No. 34 entry, this time for the remainder of the 2016 campaign.
With Mike Basham back at the wheel, the team looked to build on the momentum that their partnership with Mullins Racing had built so far. Unfortunately, the upcoming speedways were a bump in the road.
The No. 34 machine ran well in June at both the Pocono Raceway and the Michigan International Speedway, until an electrical and tire issue forced him to two straight sub-Top-20 finishes. After his adversity, Basham roared back with a career-best 14th place qualifying effort at the Madison International Speedway, At the drop of the green flag, he used his starting position to maintain his position, scoring a season-best 16th place finish.
He continued this hot streak at the Winchester Speedway, qualifying 15th for the annual 200-lap event. Throughout the race, he kept up with several top cars, recording another great finish, finishing 13th when the checkered flag waved.
Basham once again experienced a bump in the road, as the series headed to the Iowa Speedway. Being out-powered, he took care of his car, driving to a 21st place finish.
Entering the remaining eight races of the ARCA Racing Series season, Basham was poised to get himself into the Top-10 in Driver Championship Points, and get his No. 34 machine inside the Top-15 in Owner’s Points.
He knew what he needed to do, and he did just that.
During the final stretch of eight races, he recorded a career-best finish of 10th at the Illinois State Fairgrounds dirt track…with some help.
Before scoring his career-best finish, Willie Mullins and Mullins Racing once again provided a helping hand, as their business, Bugsy’s Auto Repair, came on-board to sponsor Mike Basham’s No. 34 Chevrolet for the remainder of the season.
In addition to his Top-10 finish, he also recorded three Top-15 finishes as well, all coming consecutively. Not to mention, he finished no lower than 18th. He also recorded a career best starting position, starting 12th in the season finale at the Kansas Speedway.
This helped propel Basham to a 10th place finish in Driver Championship Points, and a 12th place finish in Owner Championship Points.
With the 2016 ARCA Racing Series season in the rear view mirror, many ups and downs made up the season for Mike Basham and Willie Mullins, but both recorded career bests this season. Not to mention, this was the first time since 2012, the No. 34 has competed in every ARCA Racing Series event.
Looking ahead to 2017, the No. 34 is guaranteed a starting spot in the first four races next season, as a result of team’s finish in Owner Championship Points.
ABOUT MULLINS RACING Mullins Racing is an all-around motorsports team, racing in the ARCA Racing Series and in the Sports car Club of America (SCCA). This will be the team’s second year competing in the ARCA Racing Series.
For more information on Mullins Racing, visit their website, www.mullingsracing.net, or connect with the team through Facebook (Mullins Racing) and on Twitter (@mullins_racing).