Willie Mullins Qualifies Fourth For Daytona ARCA Opener
Willie Mullins earned a career-best starting position during ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards qualifying Friday at Daytona International Speedway.
Mullins, driving the No. 3 County Waste/Crow Wing Recycling Ford, qualified fourth for Saturday’s season-opening Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire.
“We came with a good, prepared car and when you show up with a good car it makes it easy,” said Mullins. “Everything worked out well. Tony (Furr, crew chief) worked on the car the entire time with all my guys. They helped earn this position. We're going to go get some dinner, go home and relax and come back and race tomorrow.”
The Fredericksburg, Va., native found himself briefly at the top of the qualifying charts after his first lap on track, but after completing the three-lap run Mullins was shuffled down to third. He would later get bumped down to fourth by eventual pole winner Christian Eckes, but the fourth-place qualifying effort is still a career-best for Mullins.
Mullins gave particular credit to the Venturini Motorsports team and drivers Leilani Munter, Harrison Burton and defending race winner Michael Self. The foursome worked together within their qualifying group and none of them qualified worse than sixth.
“Bill and Billy (Venturini) have been great to me. I have to thank them for working with me,” said Mullins. “They help and Frank Kimmel has also been an awesome help, just guiding me here and there. We’re very pleased with everybody that has given us a chance and we’re here to work and run up front.”
Mullins' attention now turns to Saturday’s 200-mile event. He drove to a runner-up result last year in his third start at Daytona and he’s hoping this year he’ll be able to do one spot better.
“I’m optimistic. The biggest thing is we’ve got to stay in the front group and we’ve got to keep the fenders on it,” said Mullins.
Race fans can watch the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire live on FS1 beginning at 4:30 p.m. EST. Live timing and scoring will also be available online at www.arcaracing.com.