Willie Mullins Survives Challenging Night At Elko Speedway
Willie Mullins battled through a difficult night of racing to earn a 13th-place finish in Saturday's ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Sioux Chief PowerPEX 250 presented by CW Metals and MatrixCare at Elko Speedway.
Mullins, behind the wheel of the No. 3 CW Metals/Bugsy's Auto Ford for Mullins Racing, was making his second start of the season after an impressive runner-up result in the ARCA opener in February at Daytona International Speedway.
Things didn't go Mullins' way from the outset of the 250-lap event. A spin on the 57th lap dropped him to the rear of the field. Expecting another caution, Mullins and his team opted not to take on fresh tires following his spin. That proved to be a mistake as the next caution flag didn't wave until lap 160.
As a result, Mullins fell multiple laps off the pace as he struggled to find speed in his General Tires. By the time the checkered flag waved Mullins was scored eight laps off the pace in the 13th position.
“We were expecting a top-10 finish and we came away with 13th,” Mullins said. “We had a lot of struggles over the weekend. We got spun early and we didn't come in and pit and then we were so far off pace with the tires because they got burned up when I spun it around backwards. That put us behind and it was just a struggle from there. We were just off on the setup for the whole race.”
While the finish wasn't what Mullins was hoping for, he did leave Elko Speedway with a few positives. The first positive was his teammate and fellow resident of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Robert Bruce, delivered Mullins Racing it's first top-10 finish on a short track with his 10th-place result.
“It's great that we were able to show up and be competitive with Robert and he was able to get a top-10,” Mullins said. “It's great also that both cars were able to make the majority of the laps and we rolled them both on the truck in one piece with no mechanical failures. We have good enough equipment so we can turn all the laps, now we just need to work on our setups and try to improve there.”
The second positive was Mullins and the Mullins Racing team were able to spend a lot of time with fans during the trip to Minnesota, including one family of racers that they invited to spend Saturday's race in the CW Metals VIP area.
“We got to meet three boys named Teddy, Josiah and Jackson Kottschade. All three of them are racers and they made it a point on Friday to come to our display at CW Metals,” Mullins said. “They were having so much fun, so we invited them to come to Elko Saturday and watch the race from the CW Metals VIP area. They were there for the whole race to support us. It was great to see young talent come out to the track to support racers. That really made the entire trip worth it for us.”
Saturday's race at Elko Speedway was the final time Mullins Racing will be on track this season. Mullins said his team will now focus on preparing for the 2019 season, beginning with the ARCA opener at Daytona International Speedway in February.
“We need to go back to working on the cars and getting things a little bit better and start working towards Daytona so we can try and improve by one position next February at Daytona,” Mullins said.
The No. 3 Mullins Racing Ford carried sponsorship support from CW Metals, Crow Wing Recycling, Bugsy's Auto, Snap On by Timmy Brann, Sherwin Williams Paint and Dinah Marie Photography.