MULLINS TEAMS UP WITH BELMONT AND BASHAM FOR DAYTONA EFFORT
After a disappointing 36th place finish in last season’s Lucas Oil 200 at the Daytona International Speedway, team owner and driver Willie Mullins went back to the drawing board to help take the team’s performance to the next level. Therefore, he enlisted the help of two long-time ARCA Racing Series owners, Andy Belmont and Darrell Basham.
“Andy (Belmont) has been a long-time friend and mentor in my racing career,” Mullins said. “I bought parts from him when I built my first ARCA car, and it has just built from there. I can't imagine trusting anyone more than him, to call the race for me."
Andy Belmont has been a staple in the ARCA Racing Series for many years, as a driver and as a car owner.
The Pennsylvania native made his first ARCA start on the high banks of the Michigan International Speedway in 1994. He started 25th, working his way up to 4th as he took the checkered flag. He continued that momentum for his other two starts, posting another Top-5 months later.
Entering the 1998 ARCA Racing Series season, he had made a combined nine starts in four years. But that did not stop him, as he dove head first into the series, competing full-time through 2005.
As 2006 began to unfold, Belmont decided to take the reins as a car owner in the series, driving his own car, before handing over the steering wheel in 2007.
Over his driving career, he made 184 starts, recording an impressive streak of four straight years of finishing inside the Top-10 in Championship Points.
As a car owner, he saw success immediately, visiting victory lane with Chad McCumbee and his No. 1 ModSpace Ford three times, in addition to winning the 2011 Bill France Four Crown title.
The next season, Belmont decided to scale back racing, only making a few starts, before choose to sell the team to focus on his family’s business.
Since 2012, he has been absent from the ARCA Racing Series garage, until Mullins Racing asked him to assist the team with their Daytona effort. He will play an important role in the team’s performance this season.
The other help came from none other than Darrell Basham Racing, who have been a long-time competitor in the ARCA Racing Series. Team owner Darrell Basham has been part of the series since 1994, making 282 starts, scoring a career-best 5th place finish at the Kansas Speedway in 2005.
Darrell only makes up half of his team’s success, as his wife Sandy have made them an excellent husband, wife combination in the garage area. Throughout the years, they are always willing to lend a helping hand to any team who may need it. That has been their true trademark in the series.
In early January, Mullins Racing contacted the Basham’s about using their number to attempt the 2016 running of the Lucas Oil 200 at the Daytona International Speedway. By using their number, it would give Mullins a chance at being locked into the 40-car field. The Basham's generously gave them the opportunity to use their No. 34.
“When it was brought up about running the No. 34, I was pretty excited,” Mullins commented. “I remember watching ARCA on TV with my dad when I was younger, and seeing Darrell race. I have always been a fan, and this is an honor to have the No. 34 on the side of my car."
With the No. 34 on the roof and doors, the team will return to the Daytona International Speedway in February with the experience of former competitor and team owner, Andy Belmont, in addition to Darrel and Sandy Basham and their years of experience in the series.
As for Mullins, he is no stranger to ARCA Racing Series competition, making four starts with the series from 2008 to 2012. His best finish came at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2012, finishing 15th.
Outside of ARCA competition, the Virginia native is a “Road Course Ringer”, running the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) in the V-8 Stock Car division.
In his first year as a member of SCCA, he was awarded Rookie of the Year honors, in addition to being name the V8 Grand National Champion, coming in 2006.
From there, he has torn through the ranks of road course racing, recording victories at some of the most prestigious racing venues in North America, which include Sebring, 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.
In preparation for February, Mullins and crew participated in this month’s testing sessions at the Daytona International Speedway. During the test, he recorded a fast lap of 48.450 seconds, with an average speed of 185.759mph.
Willie Mullins will look to make February 13th’s Lucas Oil 200 in the No. 34 Bugsy’s Auto Repair-Crow Wing Recycling Ford.
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 sixth 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).