GRAND FORKS, N.D. (July 19, 2023) – Last week was one of, if not the best weeks of the year for Brendan Mullen behind the wheel of the Native Nations Cannabis / Royal River Casino & Hotel No. 11M, scoring two podium finishes and three top tens with the Northern Outlaw Sprint Association (NOSA) vs. the Bumper to Bumper IRA Sprints at I-94 emr Speedway and River Cities Speedway last weekend.

Mullen made his I-94 emr Speedway debut last Thursday night as both the NOSA and IRA series made their first appearance at Fergus Falls, MN’s three-eighths mile oval. Mullen started the week in fine form by being fastest in his qualifying group, while also going fastest overall with a 13.822 second lap.

From there, Mullen parlayed that lap into a second-place run in his heat, and a third-place finish in his dash, setting up a fifth-place start in the first 30 lap main event of the three-race stretch.

Mullen immediately went to work on Jack Croaker and Austin Pierce in an early bid for a podium spot. Mullen got past Pierce, and stalked Croaker through seven laps, briefly taking third on lap eight.

Mullen slid under Croaker on a lap 14 restart, and briefly lost the position to Pierce on the following lap before settling back into fourth until the next restart with 13 to go.

Mullen scored with a big slider as the green came back out but lost third to Tim Estenson on the second lap after the race went back green.

Mullen and Estenson’s battle went cold when leader Brenham Crouch’s flat right rear was the cause for the penultimate re-stack of the order. Mullen remained at an equal distance between himself, first, and second until the final caution, a red flag, set up one final restart.

Estenson had a right rear go down as the field came back to life, allowing Mullen a shot at Dobmeier for the win, peeking under the leader on the restart, but finished the final five circuits in the runner-up spot.

“When a guy like Mark Dobmeier is on the front row, you know it’s going to be a tough race to get by him,” Mullen said post-race. But yeah, kind of a race where I was just hanging out, waiting, waiting, trying to see if maybe there’d be an opportunity on Mark [Dobmeier] at the end, but we were running out of fuel and kind of sputtering, so it was just a little bit too, little too late.”

On Friday, Mullen and crew returned to River Cities Speedway, starting the night fifth quickest in his qualifying group, while going on to win his heat race, setting up another dash appearance, where he finished third.

Starting sixth in the first 30 lapper at the ‘Bullring’ on the weekend, Mullen escaped major damage as Danny Schlafer, who started to his inside, climbed over the left rear of the No. 11M and went for a light tumble.

On the restart, Mullen took the fifth spot from Austin Hartmann, then snuck under Austin Pierce on the bottom to move into fourth. Mullen went on to shadow Josh Schneiderman in traffic for third until a lap nine caution.

Mullen lost a spot on each of the following restarts but was still in line for a top five on the final restart with five laps remaining. Mullen remained close to Schneiderman and Joel Myers, Jr., but finished the race sixth.

Mullen kicked off the final night vs. the IRA with the second fastest lap in his time trial group and went on to his second heat win of the weekend, which put him in his third straight dash. Starting and finishing third in that dash, Mullen was set to roll off sixth for the second consecutive night.

Mullen again completed the opening lap in fifth, then snuck under Josh Schneiderman the following lap to move up to fourth. Mullen went on to move into a podium spot, sneaking under Jack Croaker for third just before the midway point.

Mullen had begun to reel in the leaders when a caution with eleven to go cleared the way for the lead trio. For the second time in the three nights, Mullen had to battle hard with Tim Estenson to keep third but got third back when Estenson spun with six laps to go.

Mullen had to hold off a hard charging Mark Dobmeier, who peeked below Mullen on two finial restarts with five laps, then two laps remaining to keep his spot on the podium as the checkers flew.

“Two podiums in three nights… Last night didn’t go the way we wanted, but I feel like we had speed all weekend, Mullen said after another podium finish. “I want to thank all the fans for coming out both nights and thank you to the IRA for coming and doing this deal with us every year, it’s such a blast. Hopefully, we’ll do it again soon.”

Mullen wrapped up his weekend with another trip to Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, SD, where he started 16th in the 25 lap A-Main. Mullen again avoided disaster, clipping with his right rear a spinning Cody Ihlen. Mullen made use of both early restarts, passing Scott Winters to move into the top ten on lap five.

Swapping positions with the previous week’s winner Christopher Thram, Mullen fell just short of a top ten, finishing eleventh.

This week, Mullen returns to NOSA action at River Cities on Friday, then a pair of South Dakota races at Hartford’s I-90 Speedway and Watertown’s Casino Speedway on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Thanks to all of our sponsors for their continued support!
Native Nations Cannabis
Home of Economy
Auto Finance Super Center
Royal River Casino & Hotel
605 Lending
Simplot – Grand Forks, ND
State Bank of Fairmont
Valvoline Instant Oil Change
Bergstrom Electric
Northland Custom Woodworking
Bosh Enterprise

2023 Stats:
Races: 35
Wins: 1
Top 5’s: 8
Top 10’s: 12

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