Mullins Racing Taking 4 to the High Banks of Daytona International Speedway
FREDERICKSBURG, Virginia – With the ARCA Menards Series annual pre-season practice at Daytona just days away, Mullins Racing is set to bring some new drivers to the track to gain valuable experience, as well as some familiar faces looking to help build the program even stronger.
This year’s roster for the pre-season practice includes Blake Lothian, Ryan Kuhn, and Davey Callihan, who will participate in the two-day session alongside team owner Willie Mullins. Kevin Reed will sit atop the box as crew chief.
Late Model driver Callihan, a veteran of the team, is ready to get back behind the wheel at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
“Really excited to get back to Daytona for the test,” Callihan said. “It’s always fun when you’re able to do something a little different than short-track stuff. Really excited and grateful for the opportunity.”
Callihan has become a sort of veteran presence for the group heading to the test, having made starts in both the ARCA Menards Series and the ARCA Menards Series East. This also marks a return to Daytona for him after testing before with Mullins Racing and being a crew member.
“Daytona is just one of those places when you walk in it always gives you goosebumps the first time,” Callihan said. “Just all the history and things that have happened there…A lot of short-track guys or racers in general don’t even get the chance to drive there. Just being on track and making laps is really neat.”
The 34-year-old is a regular in the late model scene at Dominion Raceway, where Mullins Racing calls home, but he also says away from the track they are still great friends.
“We got connected through Dominion, and we kind of became friends, and I’ve been around since then. They haven’t been able to get rid of me…We’re friends outside of racing,” Callihan added.
The Fredericksburg Virginia, native said heading into the test he has one goal, to “learn as much as we can about the car.”
“We’re gonna take that time and see if we can bring them back and massage on them a little bit and make them faster. We’re just trying to find speed and better the speedway program.”
Blake Lothian, a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity campaign, a go-kart racer, and has two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts with Reaume Brothers Racing.
“As a kid, you grow up watching the Daytona 500,” said Lothian. “All the memories you have growing up there. Watching it all happen on TV…As a kid, I always wanted to race Daytona when I was racing go-karts.”
This isn’t the first time the Fayetteville, North Carolina, native has hit the high banks though. He teamed up with Mullins Racing in 2022 for the two-day test at the superspeedway.
“I can’t even put into perspective what it’s like being on the banking…You’re used to Dominion Raceway and the short tracks, and then you go to the high banks of Daytona…Your mind is telling you ‘you have to break’ but it’s a mental battle along the way,” the 21-year-old said.
While both Callihan and Lothian have some experience in ARCA, Kuhn is getting his first chance at something other than a late model and short-track racing. It doesn’t seem to phase him though.
“I’m pumped. It’s been a dream of mine since I was young,” Kuhn said. I wanted to do it all my life, and I felt like this was the right time to do it.”
Kuhn has been a racer most all his life, starting his career at age eight in go-karts. Moving up the ranks, the East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, native began his career in late models in the Northeast, winning the 2018 Seekonk Speedway Late Model Championship and the 2019 ACT Tour Rookie of The Year. He was also part of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program in 2021.
“It really helped the grassroots style of racers,” Kuhn said. “It was a cool opportunity.”
Kuhn said the chance to join the team for the pre-race practice at Daytona came after he reached out to a veteran in the ARCA Menards Series.
“The first person we contacted was Dale Quarterley,” Kuhn said. My dad used to work on his race cars back when they were both younger. He sent us to Willie and everything just clicked right there. It just worked out really well.
“A lot of that track is precision and being ultra smooth, and wheel inputs. In a pack, you’re definitely going to learn what the air does around you and side drafting. It’s going to be a different animal, but the experience is going to be fun.”
Dinah Mullins, wife of Willie Mullins and co-owner of Mullins Racing, talked about the enjoyment of this time of year and getting back to the track.
“We’re super excited about Daytona,” Dinah said. “The test is one of our favorite things every season. This year we’re just going to have four drivers between the two cars. We feel like it’s going to give us the best opportunity to get the most out of the cars and the most out of the drivers
“It’s great to have Blake Lothian back with us. He tested with us two years ago. He’s run some trucks since then and a little bit of CARS Tour. He’s a great kid. We have Ryan Kuhn coming from Massachusetts…total shoe, the real deal. Of course, we have Davey Callihan coming back with us, and we can’t forget Big Willie.”
“We have confidence in the cars we have. We’re excited to get back on track…The goal is to get both of the cars in the top 15 on speed…Willie’s goal is the top of the board.”
While the team is set for the upcoming test, Dinah added that they are ‘still on the fence’ when it comes to the season opener on February 17th and are looking for some more funding to race.
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