Willie Mullins has taken a very indirect route to competing in the ARCA Racing Series.
From Fredericksburg, Va., he has been a drag racer, a road course ace and now is making a name for himself in stock cars.
The 36-year-old competitor started as a drag racer, just like his father Bugsy and brother Bruce, when he was just 13 years old. He competed in the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League, the same development program that has helped drag racing starts like Erica Enders, Shawn Langdon and J.R. Todd advance to the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
In his mid-20s Mullins began itching to try something different and purchased an old ARCA chassis from team owner Joe Falk. After attending a road racing class at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) Int’l in 2005, Mullins quickly set out to make a name for himself.
In his first season as a Sports Car Club of America member, he was crowned the SCCA V8 Grand National champion and Rookie of the Year in the V8 class. In 2014 Mullins added another championship, winning the MARRS SPO championship. He was also runner-up in the MARRS SPO division in 2013.
While continuing to compete on road courses up and down the East Coast, Mullins also began to expand his horizons into the ARCA Racing Series. He made his first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start in 2008 at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J., starting 26th and finishing 34th.
Mullins made three more starts at New Jersey Motorsports Park from 2009 to 2012, improving his finishing position each time he hit the track. He finished 30th in 2009, 23rd in 2011 and 15th in 2012.
After taking a few seasons off from the ARCA Racing Series Mullins returned as a team owner in 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., fielding the No. 1 Ford for former Super Cup Stock Car Series champion J.J. Pack. The day ended in disappointment when an oil line fire forced Pack to call it a day in the 36th.
In 2016 Mullins returned to the drivers seat of an ARCA car, piloting the No. 34 Mullins Racing Ford to a career-best eighth-place finish in the season opening event at Daytona International Speedway. He made two more starts in 2016, finishing 17th at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway after starting sixth and followed that up with a 15th-place finish at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Mullins returned to the ARCA Racing Series again in 2017, qualifying a career-best fifth at Daytona International Speedway for the season-opening Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200. He was collected in an early-race wreck not of his making and finished a disappointing 40th, but his competitors knew he had been there at the end of the day.
The owner/driver, who spends the week working on cars and trucks at his family-owned shop called Bugsy’s Auto Body & Repair in Virginia, is expected to make at least three additional ARCA Racing Series starts in 2017 at Talladega, Road America in Wisconsin and Minnesota’s Elko Speedway.
Developmental Driver Peyton Ferree
Peyton Ferree, age 11, is out of Fredericksburg, VA. He is a third generation racer and got his racing start in 2011. He began racing asphalt and dirt karts in Virginia. After a couple of seasons he notched several wins in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. In 2014 he finally got his first Track Championship at Capital City Speedway. In 2015 he stepped up to the INEX Bandolero cars. Peyton backed up his 2014 Championship with a Bandolero Rookie of the Year and 2015 Track Champion at Shenandoah Speedway. The drive to keep Peyton racing has now moved him to the winter racing in the Arena Racing USA Series. He is still competing in one half scale stock cars inside the Richmond Coliseum.
Peyton is not just a racer. He is a 6th grade student at Dixon Smith Middle School in Stafford, VA. He enjoys being a kid, but just as much he likes to spend his time working at the race shop. He is learning as much as he can about what it takes to be a successful race team. He can put in the long hours and meticulous work just like the rest of the crew.
Keep an eye out in early 2016. Peyton will be making his full size racecar debut in a Sportsman Division Chevrolet Camaro at Shenandoah Speedway
Robert Bruce has a lengthy racing resume. The 49-year-old resident of Fredericksburg, Va., has been racing at tracks around Virginia for the last 25 years.
The veteran racer has been a regular in late model divisions at several Virginia tracks since 1990, scoring victories at Shenandoah Speedway and Old Dominion Speedway. He was also runner-up in the late model standings at Old Dominion.
During his younger years in motorsports Bruce has had the opportunity to work with several NASCAR teams, including Jimmy Means Racing and James Hylton Racing.
He even got an opportunity to compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, making his series debut in 2013 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway driving for Mike Harmon Racing. Driving Harmon’s No. 84 Ford, Bruce started 33rd and finished 28th in his lone series start to date.
Bruce has known the Mullins family for many years through the Mullins’ family business, Bugsy’s Auto Body and Repair. In 2017 Bruce joined the Mullins Racing family as car chief, helping prepare the race car that team owner/driver Willie Mullins drove in the ARCA Racing Series opener at Daytona International Speedway in February.
Mullins Racing recently helped Bruce fulfill a lifelong dream when Bruce tested a Mullins Racing Ford at Daytona International Speedway during the annual ARCA Racing Series test at the track in January.
When Bruce isn’t helping Mullins Racing prepare for the next race on the ARCA Racing Series calendar, you can usually find him at Dominion Raceway in Thornburg, Va., or at Shenandoah Speedway, where he is a regular in the late model stock car class.
Bruce regularly receives help at Dominion from the Mullins Racing team, including team owner Mullins, who works as car chief for Bruce on race days at Dominion.
You can also find Bruce helping his son, 13-year-old Cole Bruce, at the track. Cole is currently working his way up the racing ranks and most recently won the INEX Bandolero Virginia state championship in 2016.
Robert will make his first ARCA start at Elko for Mullins Racing.