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Years of Perserverence Leads to First Career ARCA Pole for Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins ARCA Daytona pole position 2024 Hard Rock Bet 200 qualifying

Photo Credit: Craig White, TobyChristie.com

The draft at Daytona International Speedway serves as the proverbial horse and carriage for the Cinderellas of racing. And there has been no bigger Cinderella story than Big Willie Mullins, who scored his first career ARCA Menards Series pole for Friday night’s Hard Rock Bet 200 at Daytona.

“I can’t [believe it]. It’s a dream come true,” Mullins said after strolling back to his garage stall following qualifying.

The native of Fredericksburg, VA, and his Mullins Racing team made their ARCA Menards Series debut back in 2008, and in the rough and tumble world of auto racing, where big money drives big results, Mullins has done the best he can with what he’s had for years. The thing is, he never really had much. Until Friday at Daytona.

“10 years worth of work building cars, it’s taken 10 years finding the right people, getting this car — this car was a second-and-a-half slower last year with the other driver in it,” Mullins explained. “I brought [crew chief] Kevin Reed this year to make sure it was where it needed to be, and we just put it on the pole. That just shows you that we have the equipment. It just took the right people and the right timing to get it all done.”

The qualifying run speaks to the strength of the Mullins Racing team. Mullins defeated mega teams like Venturini Motorsports, and even Australian Supercars legend Shane van Gisbergen failed to make the field for Friday night’s race. While the significance of his qualifying run is huge, Mullins says he won’t fully understand how major it is until later.

“It’ll soak in here in a little bit. We’re just blessed to be able to come here. Be in the Menards Series. It’s a great series. It gave a little guy a chance,” Mullins stated as tears began to flow. “It’s just emotional.”

The emotion showed by Mullins was raw, and real. But there is more going on behind the scenes for the driver and his family. The Mullins family suffered through tragedy and health issues over the offseason, and up until a few weeks before this race, they weren’t sure if they would run the season-opening race.

Ultimately, Mullins and his wife Dinah made the decision to journey down to Daytona Beach with hopes that it would pay off.

“It does. Absolutely [it paid off],” Mullins stated with emphasis. “With all of the struggles we have going on with health issues, things like that. This is awesome. I can’t believe it. We did it.”

ARCA Menards Series Hard Rock Bet 200 Qualifying Results

Pos.No.NameSponsorLap timeDiffSpeedLaps
13Willie MullinsCorvetteparts.net/Crow Wing Recycling Ford48.982--183.7412
227Tim RichmondRichmond Racing Toyota49.0030.021183.6623
320Jake Finch*Phoenix Construction Toyota49.0240.042183.5843
425Toni BreidingerCelsius Toyota49.0440.062183.5093
536Ryan HuffSoutheastern Services Ford49.060.078183.4493
630Justin Bonsignore*Hard Rock Bet49.1080.126183.2703
768Gil Linster*HOOSH.com Ford49.7030.721181.0763
875Bryan DauzatBrother-in-Law Racing Chevrolet49.7080.726181.0573
934Issac Johnson*Endress & Hauser Ford49.7340.752180.9633
1097Jason KitzmillerA.L.L Construction Chevrolet49.7350.753180.9593
1115Kris WrightF.N.B Corporation Toyota49.7380.756180.9483
1211Bryce Haugeberg*Karcher/Brenco Toyota49.7410.759180.9373
132Andres PerezMax Siegal Inc Chevrolet49.7430.761180.9303
147Jeff Scofield*JXT Transport Chevrolet49.7870.805180.7703
1518Tanner GrayDead On Tools Toyota49.7950.813180.7413
164Dale QuarterleyVan Dyk Recycling Services/Motul Arai Chevrolet49.7970.815180.7343
177Eric CaudellRYDIN/Coble Enterprises/Red Tine Canopies Toyota49.8050.823180.7053
1893Caleb Costner*Lickety Lew’s/Heritage Water Systems Chevrolet49.8060.824180.7013
1944Thomas Annunziata*Nerd Focus Chevrolet49.8220.840180.6433
2032Christian RoseWest Virgina Tourism Ford49.8250.843180.6323
218Sean CorrEmpire Racing Chevrolet49.8410.859180.5743
2235Greg Van AlstZaki Ali Injury & Criminal Attorney ZakiAli.com49.8450.863180.5603
2362Steve Lewis Jr.*Telco Construction/Jeffery Machine Chevrolet49.860.878180.5053
248Patrick EmerlingSouthern Tier Security Ford49.9510.969180.1773
2555Gus DeanDean Custom Air Toyota49.9750.993180.0903
2617Marco Andretti*Group 1001 Chevrolet49.9871.005180.0473
2713Armani WilliamsBlue Sprig Toyota50.0291.047179.8963
2822Amber BalcaenICON Direct Toyota50.311.328178.8913
2963John Aramendia*1st Call Plumbing Heating & Air Chevrolet50.3111.329178.8873
3069Scott MeltonMelton McFadden Insuracne/Donna’s Donuts Ford50.3131.331178.8803
3174Mandy Chick*Dynamic Drivelines/FK Rod Ends/Fragola Perf Chevrolet50.3981.416178.5793
326Lavar Scott*Max Siegel Inc Chevrolet50.411.428178.5363
332Leland Honeyman Jr.*Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet50.4221.440178.4943
3473Andy JankowiakV1 Fiber Ford50.5341.552178.0983
3528Shane Van Gisbergen*Pinnacle Motorsports Chevrolet50.9271.945176.7243
3699Michael Maples*Don Ray Petroleum LLC/Maples Motorsports Chevrolet51.2992.317175.4423
3712Ryan Roulette*VFW Ford51.3092.327175.4083
3895Brayton Laster*MAN Motorsports Toyota51.3742.392175.1863
3910Ed PompaHYTORC of New York51.6612.679174.2133
4087Charles BuchananSpring Drug Ford52.0423.060172.9373
4157Hunter Deshautelle*Brother-In-Law Motorsports Chevrolet52.3313.349171.9823
421Takuma Koga*Macnica/CKB Fast Track High Performace Toyota52.3333.351171.9763
433Alex ClubbRace Parts Liquidators Ford52.6153.633171.0542
4488A.J. MoyerRivers’s Edge Cottages & RV Park/Ampere EV Chevrolet52.6563.674170.9213
456Tommy O’Leary IVPeterson Motorsports Ford53.7194.737167.5383
4647Becca Monopoli*Mixon Motorsports Toyota54.1165.134166.3092
4731Mitch Gibson*backthelane.com Chevrolet54.8925.910163.9583
4898Dale ShearerShear Speed Toyota55.4086.426162.4313
4948Brad SmithBrad Smith Motorports Ford56.3177.335159.8103
5086Cody Dennison*Toolganizer Ford58.5359.553153.7542
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