FREDRICKSBURG, Va. - Willie Mullins feels like he has a lot to prove this Friday as the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards travels to Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama for the General Tire 200.
Mullins and the Mullins Racing team are keen to avenge the 40th-place finish in February at Daytona International Speedway when Mullins was collected in a crash not of his making on the 6th lap of the 75-lap event.
“We need to go to Talladega to prove ourselves,” said Mullins, who qualified fifth for the race at Daytona in February. “It wasn’t a fluke where we qualified and we want to prove we can run really well. It is time for us to step up now.”
Friday’s race will be Mullins’ second at Talladega Superspeedway. Last year he qualified sixth aboard the No. 34 Bugsy’s Auto Repair/Crow Wing Recycling Ford, but a pre-race issue with his steering wheel dropped him to the rear of the field.
Mullins was able to recover and run inside the top-10 during the race, but a multi-car crash with two laps left halted his progress and relegated him to a 17th-place finish. Mullins said he has no doubt that his team is capable of a much better result this weekend.
“We’ve just got to show everybody what kind of equipment we really have,” Mullins said. “When we go to a restrictor plate race we’re hoping for a top-10 and to not tear the car up too bad. With that being said, if we can qualify also in the top-10 that is also a good start.
“If we can keep ourselves out of the mess that always happens mid-pack and back, then we should be able to really show what our Mullins Racing team is made of.”
Despite being small in nature, Mullins said his team is extremely skilled and those skills shine brightest at big tracks like Talladega.
“We have a good program. My father does all the body work here in the shop. He is the one that really massages the bodies. Tubby Thompson, our painter, he is the one that makes them slick and Bruce Mullins comes up with the look of our cars,” Mullins said. “It’s not just me the driver or the Illmor 396, it is everybody that this whole thing encompasses that makes it a good package. That’s why we’re so good when we’re able to show up there.”
Mullins is coming to Talladega fresh from his first short-track start at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in Tennessee, where he qualified 23rd and finished 17th. He said he’s hoping to not only build on that finish, but also flex his muscles just a little bit.
“We’re just looking forward to going down there and putting on a good show,” Mullins said. “We have the same returning crew from Daytona. Everybody is excited. We were cut short at Daytona and we feel like we have something to prove, so we’re going back with a vengeance and have a good result at the end of the day.”
Bugsy’s Auto Shop and Crow Wing Recycling are both back aboard Mullins’ No. 34 Ford this Friday at Talladega, as are Morgan Lumber, Crawford Sprinkler of Raleigh, Timmy Brann Snap-On Tools and Belmont’s Garage.
For more information on Mullins Racing, please visit mullinsracing.net, like them on Facebook (Mullins Racing) and follow them on Twitter @mullins_racing.
The General Tire is the fourth race of the 2017 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season. The one-day event at Talladega Superspeedway begins with practice from 8:30 to 10:20 a.m., followed by qualifying at 2:30 p.m. The General Tire 200 is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. The race will be televised live on FS1 and ARCARacing.com will provide live timing and scoring.