FREDRICKSBURG, Va. – There are a lot of firsts coming up for 36-year-old ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards competitor Willie Mullins.
Mullins is scheduled to make his first start at Minnesota’s Elko Speedway on June 3 for the Shore Lunch 250 and he’ll be doing so thanks to a first-time partnership with Minnesota-based business CW Metals.
“CW Metals is a company out of the Minneapolis area and they are basically a sister company to Crow Wing Recycling, another one of our sponsors,” Mullins said. “They want to try and get the name out there and help the marketing side so people see it and recognize it.”
The addition of CW Metals comes at a perfect time for Mullins and company. Mullins recently added a composite body car to the Mullins Racing stable. That car, carrying Mullins’ No. 34, will be debuting on June 3 with Mullins at the wheel and CW Metals on the hood. The car will also carry associate sponsorship from Bugsy’s Auto.
“Without sponsors we can’t even race. Every little bit helps,” Mullins said. “CW Metals is there to help us and make sure we have good tires and a complete package for the race at Elko so we can try and compete for a win.”
The race at Elko will be Mullins’ fourth ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start this year. He previously raced at Daytona International Speedway, Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville and Talladega Superspeedway, earning a best finish of 16th at Talladega.
The race at Nashville on April 8 was Mullins’ first at a short track and he said that experience is what convinced him it was time to add a composite body car to the Mullins Racing stable.
“That’s one of the reasons we stepped up to a new composite body car,” Mullins said in reference to Nashville. “We wanted to compete for a win there at Elko so we wanted to make sure we had the best equipment. I learned a lot turning laps at Nashville, but by adding this new car I think we’ll be able to be a threat on Saturday night.”
Mullins said the switch to a composite body car has a multitude of advantages.
“These cars have so much more downforce,” Mullins said. “You can really sail them off into the corner and they have a lot more side bite. We’re going to drive these cars a lot harder than the old steel body cars.”
Just because Mullins has a composite body car doesn’t mean he is retiring his old steel body car just yet. In fact, for the first time in Mullins Racing history, the team plans to field a second car entry during the Shore Lodge 250. At the wheel will be 49-year-old Virginia short tracker Robert Bruce, who will pilot the No. 28 Ford with backing from CW Metals, Bugsy’s Auto and Papa John’s.
“For us its a pretty big deal. It’s the first time we’ve ever fielded two cars,” Mullins said. “We’re excited to have Robert Bruce as a teammate. He’s going to be in my Nashville car. That car is well sorted and he should be able to give it a good run.”
The Shore Lodge 250 is the sixth race of the 2017 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season. The one-day event at Elko Speedway begins with practice from 1:30 to 3 p.m., followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5 p.m. The Shore Lodge 250 is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and will be televised live on MAVTV and ARCARacing.com will provide live timing and scoring.