SALEM, Ind. – Willie Mullins made his return to the ARCA Menards Series Saturday night at historic Salem Speedway for the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200
Mullins, driving the No. 01 Ford in a partnership between Mullins Racing and Andy Hillenburg’s Fast Track Racing, showed speed throughout the the day at the .555-mile oval. He qualified 14th and was running well until a flat tire and subsequent spin derailed his day during the 200-lap race.
“Because rain was coming they decided to move the mid-race break from lap 75 to lap 101. Three quarters of the way through the run we got a flat tire after we ran over something on the track and cut a tire down,” Mullins said. “We got lucky to spin right there by the pits. We got in there, got the tire changed but that cost us two laps right there.”
Despite the flat tire costing them team a shot at a lead lap finish, Mullins had a lot of reasons to be happy with his eventual 12th-place finish.
“We were very happy with the pace,” said Mullins, who earned a top-10 finish in his last ARCA Menards Series start at Minnesota’s Elko Speedway on July 10. “Once we cut that tire we were running with the fifth and sixth position cars the rest of the race. We had the speed we wanted, we just had unfortunate luck during the race.”
In addition to the combined efforts of Mullins Racing and Fast Track Racing, Mullins also had a little extra help Saturday afternoon. Veteran stock car and motorcycle racer Dale Quarterley made the trek to Salem from Indianapolis Motor Speedway to serve as a driver coach for Mullins Saturday night.
Quarterley, who competed in the ARCA Menards Series event at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International earlier this year in partnership with Mullins Racing, was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway helping a client who was competing in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs.
For Mullins, the chance to work with and learn from Quarterley Saturday night was a great learning experience.
“He just happened to be over at Indy and had an off day, so he decided to come over and try to give me a hand and try to help me make my driving skills better,” Mullins said. “He really pushed me and made me understand a lot of things that I was missing.
“I really appreciate Dale coming up and giving me some advice. Also thanks to Andy Hillenburg and his guys for helping make this deal happen, as well as my crew chiefs Robert Bruce and Dick Doheney and the entire crew.”
The No. 01 Mullins Racing/Fast Track Racing Ford carries sponsorship support from Crow Wing Recycling, CW Metals, Bugsy’s Auto, Snap On by Timmy Brann, Dinah Marie Photography, Crawford Sprinkler of Raleigh and CorvetteParts.net.