Queers4Gears’ Adam Lovelace interviews NASCAR Grand National Sportsmen driver Justin Mullikin.
Meet 27 year old Justin Mullikin, of Holmen, Wisconsin. Justin is an out and open race car driver running in the NASCAR Grand National Sportsmen division, which falls under the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, at Lacrosse Speedway in West Salem, Wisconsin. We caught up with Justin, whose season opens this weekend at Lacrosse Speedway, to get his story. Follow Justin and his season at his JM Racing page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mullikinracing
How and when did you get started in racing?
I started in 2005 on a whim. A close friend of mine raced in the 4-cyl Hornet class at LaCrosse Speedway and I started mostly to prove him wrong in that I could do better than him (which was no small feat. He was quite a well respected and tough competitor.) So I scanned the local papers and came upon a 1994 Nissan Sentra that was well rusted and had zero brakes (there is a story in itself on driving it home). After two seasons racing in that division I was able to amass an unheard of amount of top 3 finishes up until that point. I finished outside the top 3 twice over a two year span. For the record, both years there were over 110 individual drivers, with roughly 70 people racing on a weekly basis. At the end of the 2006 season I sold my car to another competitor (my $200 investment became a $1500 car based on what I was able to do with it) and purchased a Thunderstock which was the next division up from what I was running. That idea did not last long, it was a wreck of a car that I traded for an old non-running truck. This was the start of something I am known for, chassis work. I had that car for about 3 months, completely gutted, rebuilt and sold to a driver that traveled 3.5 hours to get the car. I purchased my first sportsmen car at that point and decided that I would go to the 3rd tier division and try my hand at transitioning from a front wheel drive class on a 1/4 mile track to a V8, rear-wheel drive class on a very fast 5/8 mile track. Lacrosse Speedway has a 5/8 mile outer track and an inner 1/4 mile track that utilizes a portion of the front stretch and turn one of the big track. Six years later I am on my third car in this division
Tell us about your stats: best finishes, awards, season ending standings:
Several wins, a number of top 5`s and top 10`s. I really don’t keep track of the number of each. This past season I was chosen, by the track officials and tech directors, for the Competition Achievement Award, which is basically an award for someone who had an outstanding achievement at the track, is well respected by competitors and has an overall positive impact on the speedway.
What racing series do you follow?
I follow all of the NASCAR series (top 3 and regional), and the Formula One Championship.
Who is your favorite driver?
Regan Smith, Jenson Button, Jeff Gordon, & Johanna Long.
What is your favorite track?
This is a hard one. I tend to prefer the short tracks, specifically Martinsville and North Wilkesboro; however, Texas, Rockingham, Charlotte and Infineon rank near the top as well.
Other than your own, do you attend any other races?
When my schedule permits I attend the local dirt track, a 1/3mile true oval about 30 miles north of here. This season I will also be attending a track that has recently re-opened, a 1/3 mile flat, tight, asphalt track.
What are your future racing plans? Anything in the works?
This season I am currently looking to get a few starts in a late model under my belt; beyond that, perhaps a full season in late models, or in a touring late model series. The ultimate goal would be to progress to a level where I could compete in the ARCA series and see where that might take me.
Do you find any difficulties in being a race car driver that happens to be gay?
For the most part I have not had any issues. There is the occasional comment that gets back to me; however I typically don’t care if someone who has no meaning to me has anything to say. I did have an issue early on in my racing with another driver who happened to be my best friend when we were children. That was resolved after a bit of rough driving on my part and a good friend of mine saying to him something to the effect of, “Have you seen the front end on his car? You’re going to lose this battle” (in reference to my being known for having the most durable overbuilt front ends on my cars, in the event I needed to assist someone to get out of my way).
After you are a big time drive, will you always remember us here at Queers 4 Gears??
Of course I will. How could I forget this site, and the frequent references someone makes about Kasey Kahne?
Now for some VERY important questions
First and foremost, Casino, then Titanic (it’s perhaps the best done movie ever), The Underworld Series, Eragon, Silent Hill
Favorite TV show?
Rupaul’s Drag Race (I am a sucker for a hilarious competition), Finding Bigfoot
Do you ever smile for pictures? (Asked because I never see him smile for pictures)
Hilarious given the fact that I rarely do!
Ever gotten a speeding ticket?
Not a single ticket on my record
Your last concert?
Marilyn Manson at the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee
Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
Nope. I rarely wear shoes, I am usually seen in flip flops (including at the track)
iPhone, Android, Blackberry, pager, or bag phone?
Iphone all the way
Two-car tandem or pack racing?
Anything is better than the 2013 Daytona 500. I tend to prefer pack racing, however the two car tandem was enjoyable to watch as well.
Follow Adam Lovelace on Twitter at @aclovelace