Teenage racing star has already made a name for himself in Late Model ranks
Mullins Racing has added 17-year-old Landon Pembelton to its driver roster for the ARCA Menards Series pre-race practice at Daytona International Speedway on January 13-14.
Pembelton has already made a name for himself after winning the 2021 ValleyStar Credit Union 300, the most prestigious race in late model stock car racing.
Now, the young driver from Amelia, Virginia, will take to the high banks of the Daytona International Speedway for the first time.
While he already has some experience in ARCA after competing in multiple events last year with Venturini Motorsports, his relationship with Willie and Dinah Mullins pre-dates his breakout Martinsville triumph.
While Willie and Dinah Mullins have become popular in the ARCA Menards Series garage, many of their Saturday nights are spent at Dominion Raceway in Thornburg, Virginia, a multipurpose motorsports facility.
“The whole Mullins family hangs around Dominion,” Pembelton said. “We built a relationship with them. Dinah takes photos for us, and it all came together. They gave me this opportunity to drive for them in Daytona for the practice and I’m very thankful for this opportunity that they gave me.”
Pembelton has won races at the historic South Boston Speedway in Virginia and at Dominion, but his breakthrough win came in September 2021 when he pulled off one of the biggest upsets in late model stock car racing history at Martinsville Speedway.
His win in the NASCAR-sanctioned ValleyStar Credit Union 300 catapulted him into the spotlight as one of the hottest young drivers in short track racing.
“It’s opened up tons of opportunities for me, starting with Venturini and Toyota last year,” Pembelton explained. “They gave me the opportunity to run four races and gave me experience with the ARCA cars, which are different from the late models. We’re going to be running full-time in the late model still, going to the ARCA practice session, and maybe have some other stuff coming up too.”
Like many in the sport, racing is in Pembelton’s DNA. His father, Brian, won 22 limited sportsman races at the now-defunct Southside Speedway and another 13 at South Boston Speedway, where he won the division championship in 2009, as well as a victory in a late model stock car race at Franklin County Speedway in the summer of 2013.
“My dad’s influenced my career a ton,” the younger Pembelton commented. “Being around it my whole life, having H.C. Sellers and Peyton Sellers working with me and my dad, they’ve all formed a great relationship together and coach me and help me with about everything I do.”
Pembelton heads to the Daytona pre-race practice with three career starts under his belt in the ARCA Menards Series, including a third-place finish at Elko Speedway in Minnesota last year.
“It’s going to help having that experience,” Pembelton stated. “Going into a plate track is kind of blindsiding of course but having experience in the ARCA car should help me adapt easier to the bigger track. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little kid, just to drive around Daytona is going to be a cool experience.”
Pembelton is one of four rising young stars who will practice at Daytona this weekend with Mullins Racing. He joins fellow Dominion Raceway competitor Kayla Surles, Hickory Motor Speedway track champion Landon Huffman and Indiana driver Brayton Lasater on the roster for Mullins Racing.
The annual pre-race practice for the ARCA Menards Series at Daytona International Speedway takes place on January 13-14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST each day.
For more information about Mullins Racing, visit MullinsRacing.net, or follow Mullins Racing on Facebook, Twitter (@Mullins_Racing), and Instagram (@MullinsRacing).