Guest Instructor - Bob Mullaney
At 55 years of age, Bob Mullaney is a 37-year veteran behind the wheel of sportsman drag racing machines. Unlike many of our guest instructors, Mullaney doesn’t come from a family of racers (rather, as the patriarch of the Mullaney racing family, he created one). He took to the sport on his own, though he’s quick to credit a handful of friends and mentors who helped guide him early in his racing career.
“I’ve always been interested in drag racing, even before I was old enough to drive, although no one in my family raced. I was the kid that had H.O. cars and just made a long straight track and ran them off the end,” laughed Mullaney. “When I was 17 I started working at a gas station owned by 1975 Super Stock World Champ Bernie Agaman. During my time with Bernie, I learned a little about cars and a lot about racing.”
Agaman assisted Mullaney in building his first real race car, a street/strip Camaro that ran 13.70’s, and Mullaney became a routine fixture at Island Dragway and Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Mullaney would drive the Camaro to the track, replace the street tires with slicks, race, and then reverse the process to make his way back home.
“Bracket racing was just starting at that time, and the brackets were all in one second increments (12.00, 13.00, etc.)” Mullaney explained. “The tree even had 5 bulbs, that was way before your time! I’ve been racing ever since and I still love it!”
Bob Mullaney in a familiar spot, the winner's circle at Atco. Bob's son Brian is flashing three fingers in this photo, as this win in 2009 marked Bob's third consecutive win in Pro Eliminator. He went on to score the track championship in '09 (and backed it up in '10).
Bob and his wife Elaine were married in 1978, and the couple has two children (Brian and Kristin) who are now grown (in fact, Brian has established an incredible reputation as a stellar bottom bulb racer himself). Throughout the early years of their marriage and parenting, racing took less priority for Bob. He always managed to find his way to the track, racing in some form or fashion throughout.
“Most people don’t believe this, but I made my wife fully aware that there might be a lot of things she might change about me after marriage but racing wasn’t one of them,” laughed Mullaney. The couple actually included racing in their wedding vows!
Mullaney "Doubled Up," winning Super ET and Heavy ET at Englishtown in this machine in 2005 (He was footbraking in both categories). He's pictured in the winner circle with a "who's who" of sportsman racing in the Northeast.
As the children grew and the family’s time and budget for drag racing was stretched, a closer analysis of Bob’s racing was required. With a burning desire to compete and the necessity of keeping overhead to a minimum, Mullaney embarked on a now legendary project in 1990.
“A friend of our family had this low mileage car that they were looking to get rid of,” he explained. “I decided to buy it, but they wouldn’t take my money. They gave me the car, but for paperwork purposes, I paid $1 for it.”
Mullaney's legendary $1 Nova. This machine only paid for itself roughly 31,000 times.
Over the next 7 years, Mullaney earned approximately $25,000 in race winnings behind the wheel of the $1 Nova. Pictured here with a dial-in of 17.17, Mullaney describes the $1 Nova as “A daily driver for most of the time I was racing it, but an incredible piece of $&*%.”
The $1 Nova also proved the perfect training ground for Bob’s son Brian as he got old enough to take the wheel himself. In a few short years of competition in the late ‘90’s, Brian earned some $6,000+ winnings in the venerable machine.
Bob’s success in the $1 Nova built his reputation as one of the most talented bottom bulb competitors in the Northeast. In 1996 a group of racers and friends took notice. When Dennis Altman, Tom Brown, Tom DePascale, and Joe Mocci decided to team up and purchase an affordable Stock Eliminator car (a ’66 Impala Station Wagon), they put Mullaney behind the wheel.
Mullaney earned national recognition behind the wheel of this '66 Impala Station Wagon. He won the Division 1 Stock Eliminator championship in 1998. The owners hand picked Bob to drive based heavily on his success in the $1 Nova.
Much like the $1 Nova, the R/SA Impala wasn’t generally regarded as the best tool for the job in Stock Eliminator competition, but Mullaney’s success in the machine put his talents on the national radar. He claimed his first Stock victory, a triumph at the annual Dutch Classic, in 1997. In 1998, he won the NHRA Division 1 Stock Eliminator championship while attending the minimum 5 events (he won 2 and was runner-up in a 3rd). He also earned enough points to represent Division 1 in the 1999 Federal Mogul All-Stars event.
Shortly after that season the team disbanded, and though he’s taken the opportunity to race in Stock eliminator on a handful of occasions since in various machines, Mullaney essentially returned to the Northeast Footbrake wars exclusively. Racing alongside son Brian at most events, Mullaney has continued to accumulate race wins and track championships in a variety of competition vehicles over the last decade.
Bob won the Last Chance Footbrake Race in 2008 behind the wheel of the Franks Family Racing Nova.
He was the 2002 Pro track champion at both Atco Raceway and Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. He claimed the Gambardella Footbrake Series Championship (a since defunct series of 2-day big dollar bottom bulb races) at Atco Raceway in 2002, 2003, and 2004. During that span he earned numerous $5,000 victories and a $10,000 runner-up (earning the nickname “Big Bucks” Mullaney).
He added another Pro track championship at Atco in 2004, and recent back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. In 2005 he earned a $10,000 triumph at Maple Grove Raceway’s $10K Footbrake event, and picked up a $5,000 windfall at the Last Chance Footbrake Race (Cecil County Dragway) in 2008. His biggest single-day event win came in 2009, when he won the main event of Piedmont Dragway’s $20,000 Footbrake Nationals.
Bob picked up his biggest windfall in November of 2009, winning the $20,000 main event at Piedmont Dragway's Footbrake Nationals.
ThisIsBracketRacing.com is proud to have Bob Mullaney onboard as a guest instructor, sharing some of his 37+ years of racing experience with our members.