After two successful outings at both restrictor plate races on the ARCA Racing Series circuit last season, Mullins Racing plans to test two drivers, along with some of their new equipment in the upcoming Daytona Open Test.
Willie Mullins will serve as the team’s primary driver for the test, as he prepares to pilot his No. 34 Ford for the series’ season opener in February.
No stranger to the Daytona International Speedway, Mullins has diverse experience at the famous speedway, on both the 2.5-mile oval, as well as the 3.56-mile infield road course.
In last year’s event at the 2.5-mile oval, he brought his No. 34 Bugsy’s Auto Repair Ford home with a career-best 8th place finish. Although his career-best finish of 8th is on a restrictor plate track, most of his experience has come on road courses across the East Coast and Midwest.
The Virginia native is known as a “Road Course Ringer”, running the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) in their V-8 Stock Car division.
In his first year as a member of SCCA, 2006, he claimed Rookie of the Year honors, and was named the V8 Grand National Champion.
After an impressive rookie campaign, he tore through the ranks of SCCA, recording victories at some of the most prestigious racing venues in North America, which include Sebring, Road America, Daytona, Road Atlanta, and the Virginia International Raceway.
He also lays claim to the 2014 MARRS SPO Championship, after finishing as the division’s runner-up in 2013.
Northeast late model driver, Robert Bruce, will also step behind the wheel of a Mullins Racing machine to make his first laps around the famous speedway.
“It means the world to me,” Bruce said of making laps at the Daytona International Speedway. He added that it is a great opportunity with a successful team and he is looking towards the future with the results from the test.
“I am hoping, that by testing, I can show potential sponsors what myself and Mullins Racing can do,” Bruce said of his goals for the test. He went on to mention how he plans to involve his son ,Cole, with the goal of having him compete in the ARCA Racing Series one day.
“Ultimately, my goal is to compete in three to five ARCA Racing Series races this season, and the test can help me make that a reality,” he said.
Bruce’s racing credentials are impressive, as the Virginia native has notched several wins at short track racing’s premier venues. In Late Model Stock Cars, he has many victories at Old Dominion Speedway and Shenondoah Speedway spread out over 20 years of racing.
In addition to his short track career, he has recorded one start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which came at the Martinsville Speedway. He finished 28th.
Last season, he made the transition to a Crew Chief role, as he began focusing on his son. He coached his son to the 2016 INEX Bandolero Virginia State Championship, being named its champion.
Robert Bruce also made special mention to his sponsors, Papa John’s Pizza and Radley Chevrolet, and how they are a significant part of his racing career to this point.
Aside from testing these two drivers, the team will also look to gain more information on their newly acquired Ford Fusion, as well as the team’s second Ilmor 396 power plant.
Both restrictor plate cars Mullins Racing plans to utilize have both ARCA and NASCAR history behind them.
The team’s primary restrictor plate car, Yates Chassis No. 65, Willie Mullins piloted last season to a career-best 8th place finish.
Before Mullins Racing purchased the car, it was piloted by 2015 ARCA Racing Series Champion, Grant Enfinger, at the Talladega Superspeedway in 2012. It was the car that got into Mike Affarano, causing him to roll down the front stretch in a mid-race accident.
Before ARCA competition, the chassis was one of six specialty built chassis by Robert Yates Racing. It’s most notable moment came in the 2006 Daytona 500, as Dale Jarrett piloted it to a 10th place finish. At the time, it was a brand new chassis.
The team’s newest Ford Fusion has a unique history as well.
Richard Childress Racing Chassis No. 117 is no stranger to ARCA competition, as it was last utilized by Bill Catania, at Daytona, in 2015. In that event, Catania piloted the car to a 17th place finish, after starting deep in the field.
Outside of ARCA competition, the chassis served Richard Childress Racing as a Chevrolet for multiple drivers, most notable being Elliott Sadler throughout the 2012 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. That year, Chassis No. 117 saw several different tracks, including Texas, Kentucky, Indianapolis, and Charlotte.
At Charlotte, the car sat on the pole and finished 3rd.
Mullins Racing will also look to stretch the legs on their newest power plant, an Ilmor 396 motor, previously used by former ARCA Racing Series competitor, Tom Berte.
Throughout open testing, you can check on how Willie Mullins, Robert Bruce, or your favorite driver is doing, and their performance through Live Timing and Scoring on ARCARacing.com. Testing is set to start at 9:00am EST, and conclude at 5:00pm on January 13th, 14th, and 15th.
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).