Willie Mullins didn’t plan on racing this weekend at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway, but a phone call from an ARCA Menards Series champion changed his plans.
Earlier this week Mullins got a phone call from 1995 ARCA Menards Series champion Andy Hillenburg, who was wondering if Mullins would be competing during Saturday’s General Tire 200 at Talladega Superspeedway.
“My superspeedway car was down in Mooresville at my crew chief Tony Furr’s shop,” Mullins explained. “Andy Hillenburg reached out to me to see if I would be racing at Talladega this weekend and I told him no, unfortunately, we just don’t have the money to do it.”
It was at that point Hillenburg offered Mullins a deal: Hillenburg would transport the car and provide the crew so the team could compete during Saturday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Mullins, 39, thought it over and decided to accept the offer so he could make his second ARCA Menards Series start of the season and first Talladega Superspeedway since the 2017 season.
“Andy offered to take the car down and support it with his crew so I could get back on track,” Mullins said. “Basically Andy Hillenburg is helping me out to get back to racing even though our business doesn’t have the funds right now to do it. It’s amazing that Andy would offer to lend us a hand so we could go racing and I’ll be forever thankful for that kindness.”
As part of the agreement to compete in Saturday’s event at Talladega, Mullins’ No. 3 Ford will be renumbered with Hillenburg’s No. 11. The car will carry sponsorship from Bugsy’s Auto and Crow Wing Recycling.
Mullins has 17 career ARCA Menards Series starts with a best finish of second during the 2018 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. This will be his third career start at Talladega Superspeedway.
“I’m just looking forward to getting back on track this year,” Mullins said. “We were running go karts in our backyard eight or nine weeks during the quarantine. I’m really looking forward to getting back in a big car. We were trying to put a deal to race at Dominion Raceway up the street in a limited late model, but unfortunately that fell through, so I didn’t think I’d be racing anymore this year.
“Now we’ve been able to put something together with Andy Hillenburg and it’s great. It’s going to be me and a couple of friends who are going down there to do this deal. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Andy Hillenburg is helping us out tremendously here. Without him helping me I wouldn’t be racing at Talladega.”
Saturday’s General Tire 200 will be the first for the ARCA Menards Series since COVID-19 shut down motorsports events across the United States. The 76-lap race will air live on FS1 at 2 p.m. EST.
— Mullins Racing —