Mullins Racing team eyeing victory at the World Center of Racing
Mullins Racing is geared up and ready to head back to the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday for the season opening race for the ARCA Menards Series with 42-year-old Willie Mullins and 20-year-old Brayton Laster.
Mullins will make his 25th career start in the ARCA Menards Series in Saturday’s Brandt 200, and his ninth start at Daytona – just five years after finishing runner-up at stock car racing’s most iconic venue.
“We’re going there to win, we’re expecting to win,” Mullins said. “Anything less than a top-five would be a disappointment. You finish second once there and all you’ve got left is one position.”
That runner-up finish put the Mullins Racing team on the map. Since then, the organization has grown, not in size, but in spirit and popularity. Last month, Mullins Racing took several up-and-coming drivers from the Mid-Atlantic racing scene to Daytona to test, and this weekend, they’ve got two cars chasing victory.
“Finishing second [in 2018] was very unexpected,” Mullins continued. “It was one of those things where we had a good car, missed all the big wrecks, and got a good finish out of that with a young team. We’re going to have a lot of good people with us once again this year. We’ve always had a car and went there. We’ve learned so much over the past eight years that we’ve been able to turn that into good finishes.”
Brayton Laster, nicknamed The Pizza Man, is a young driver from Greenwood, Indiana, with a larger-than-life personality – a personality that fits with the Mullins Racing team that has as much fun off the track as on the track. Last season, Laster finished 13th at Daytona.
“The Mullins’ have provided me with excellent equipment once again and I have a lot more experience than I did last year, so we’re shooting for a top-five,” Laster said. “I felt pretty awesome after the test. I was able to drive both of the superspeedway cars in the Mullins camp, and it was awesome to debut the Mustang body on a superspeedway and it was a surreal moment to be one of the first people to try something new in ARCA.”
While Saturday’s race serves as an appetizer to Sunday’s Daytona 500, the biggest race in stock car racing, it’s still Daytona and a win at Daytona in any series or any type of car is a milestone moment.
“I could retire if I won Daytona,” Laster said. “I could almost retire and be content with the rest of my life. It’s Daytona. There aren’t many racing venues that are more historic and significant in the racing world than the Daytona International Speedway. It would mean everything, all the sacrifices me and my family have made to get to this point and compete at this level.”
Mullins echoed those sentiments. “It would mean all this hard work that everybody’s put in has paid off,” Mullins stated. “It would be a great achievement in everybody’s life.”
As of now, plans for the remainder of the season have not been set in stone by Mullins Racing. The team will compete in the ARCA Menards Series East Series race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, in March, and once again in the primary ARCA Menards Series division in Talladega, Alabama, in April.
Saturday’s Brandt 200 will commence at 1:30 p.m. EST and can be seen live on Fox Sports 1
(FS1) on cable and on the Fox Sports app online. MRN Radio, which is available online, on FM radio in select markets, and on Sirius XM radio, will have live audio coverage, which will be available on ARCARacing.com.