After making his ARCA Menards Series debut with Mullins Racing last season, 20-year-old Brayton Laster will return to the team for a pair of events in 2023.
Laster, from Greenwood, Indiana, will once again compete in the opening race of the ARCA Menards Series season at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 18 and the third race of the year at Talladega Superspeedway on April 22.
Laster’s No. 03 will carry sponsorship from a pair of family businesses, JunkCarBlaster.com and AutoRepairVINStickers.com, with additional sponsorship announced later.
“I am beyond excited,” Laster said. “Last year it was all about learning, all about getting experience. I had never been on an asphalt track bigger than a 3/8-mile until Daytona last year. I was definitely out experienced when it came to competing against the rest of the ARCA Menards Series field.
“When I say I am excited, I feel like I have a shot to go turn some heads.”
The relationship with Mullins Racing began last year after Laster reached out to team co-owners Dinah and Willie Mullins about participating in the annual pre-race practice at Daytona after discovering them on TikTok.
The relationship steadily grew from there, with Laster eventually signing up to compete in a pair of ARCA Menards Series events in 2022.
Making his ARCA Menards Series debut last February at Daytona with Mullins Racing, Laster qualified 17th and finished 13th. He returned for his second series start at Talladega a few months later, but finished 26th after being involved in a crash.
“I always knew the power of social media, but I didn’t realize it would be this powerful,” Laster said. “It was real late in December (of 2021). I reached out to Willie after seeing their whole thing on Facebook and TikTok about wanting drivers for the Daytona practice.
“The amount of stuff we’ve done in the past year is absolutely unthinkable when it comes to competing at a level I never thought I’d be anywhere near competing at. The way everything has grown and happened in the last 365 days, I still can’t get a grasp for what we’ve gone out here and done.”
In addition to his ARCA Menards Series debut, Laster also made his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut last season with a 27th-place finish on dirt at Knoxville Raceway.
Away from ARCA and NASCAR, Laster focused mostly on dirt late model and figure eight racing during the 2022 season. He competed in multiple Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series events and recently took part in the Gateway Dirt Nationals inside The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
In addition to his racing endeavors, Laster and his family recently started Drive for Humanity, a 501(c)(3) charity with the goal of bringing awareness to the homelessness and hunger issues facing people across the country.
“Indianapolis is a big homeless area,” Laster said. “I’ve always kind of had a soft spot, especially this time of the year when it gets really cold. We always go out and hand out food. We’ll give them gloves and sweatpants.”
Laster will race as a teammate to Willie Mullins, who is set to make his ninth ARCA Menards Series start at Daytona and 26th overall.
“We’re definitely excited to have Brayton back. He’s somebody who has shown promise and continues to move forward with his career,” Willie Mullins said. “We’re happy to work with someone we’ve worked with already, and it’s nice to continue to build this relationship with him.
“He is a great listener, and he has worked great with our crew chief Robert Bruce. We’re happy that this relationship is continuing to build. We’re looking forward to him doing great things in our car.”
In addition to the events at Daytona and Talladega, Laster will also join Mullins Racing for the annual pre-race practice at Daytona on Jan. 13-14.
Laster joins Willie Mullins, Dominion Raceway Modified race winner Kayla Surles and Hickory Motor Speedway track champion Landon Huffman on the Mullins Racing roster for the Daytona pre-race practice.
“We’re thrashing hard trying to get these cars finished up before Christmas,” Willie Mullins said. “It’s a culmination of a lot of people’s efforts to have better cars for this year for myself and Brayton.”
The Pre-Season Practice for the ARCA Menards Series at the Daytona International Speedway
takes place on Friday, January 13, 2023, and Saturday, January 14, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. EST to 5:00 pm EST each day.
For more information about Mullins Racing, visit MullinsRacing.net, or follow Mullins Racing on Facebook, Twitter (@Mullins_Racing), and Instagram (@MullinsRacing).