Expectations are high for Willie Mullins as the ARCA Menards Series East heads to Five Flags Speedway this weekend for the Pensacola 200.
Two quality finishes in the ARCA East opener at New Smyrna Speedway and the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway for the main ARCA division have Mullins confident that his program is on the right trajectory towards becoming more competitive with each appearance.
Although Mullins expects plenty of challenges on Saturday evening, he has every reason to believe another strong run is in the works for his program that will run in a collaborative effort between Fast Track Racing and Michael Diaz.
“We’re very optimistic going into Five Flags,” Mullins said. “After leaving New Smyrna with an eighth-place finish, we’re just looking to improve upon that and maybe try to get into the Top 5 this weekend,”
The 2022 season has already been much busier for Mullins compared to past years, as he brought a second car to Daytona for the first time with Brayton Laster behind the wheel.
Despite expanding his limited resources, both Laster and Mullins enjoyed solid weekends at Daytona with finishes of 13th and 14th respectively, which only served to boost the confidence Mullins already had in the reliability of his equipment.
Now that he is back to racing on an abrasive surface, Mullins plans to implement the same strategy at Five Flags that yielded him an eighth place run at New Smyrna, but he hopes the methodical approach will lead to a result that does not match his starting position.
“Five Flags and New Smyrna are pretty similar,” Mullins said. “Other than the corners being different, both tracks are worn out and they produce pretty good racing, so we’re all ready to head down there and have another strong run.”
A Top 5 finish for Mullins at Five Flags would be his first in any ARCA division since 2018, where he survived two major late-race accidents in the Lucas Oil 200 to bring home a second place finish behind race-winner Michael Self.
Mullins admitted that his goals for Five Flags are lofty but added that returning home from Five Flags with a Top 5 is more than feasible if he makes the necessary adjustments in the garage area and driver’s seat to stay on pace with the leaders.
“I need to stay up on the wheel and be aggressive,” Mullins said. “Staying on the lead lap early and not letting the leaders get around me is going to be important. I need to work on myself as a driver so that I can stay in a solid position throughout the whole race.”
Mullins will look to claim his second ARCA Top 5 and his first in the ARCA East division when the green flag for the Pensacola 200 drops at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Mullins Racing would like to thank all of its sponsors, including CorvetteParts.net, Crow Wing Recycling, CW Metals, Bugsy’s Auto, Snap On by Timmy Brann and Dinah Marie Photography.
For more information on Mullins Racing, please visit mullinsracing.net, like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mullinsracing, follow them on Twitter at @mullins_racing or on TikTok at @williemullins.3 and @dinahmmullins.