INVERNESS, FL : Aaron Mulrooney, Jr. is back at Citrus County Speedway in the Young Lions division to compete in the INEX Winter Nationals one year after being involved in an accident on opening night that damaged the fence and destroyed his car.
Mulrooney, 14, from Fairlawn, Ohio, is driving for Knox Racing again in 2019 in his return to Citrus County where he hopes for some redemption after last year. On the first night of the Winter Nationals in 2018, he was involved in an accident with Austin Jahr and Tristan Swanson – sidelining him for the remainder of the week.
“We were coming back from some brake issues in qualifying,” Mulrooney recalled in a conversation with LegendsNation. “We were coming from, I think 24th and making our way through the field. Then, maybe on lap 10 of the 30 laps, I was coming off of turn four and I didn’t see him. There was a car that came up on to me if you think about it. It’s crazy. He spun coming off of four and, instead of going down into the infield, he came back up into traffic and I hit him. I had no clue I hit him. I thought I was still going, no clue.
“It hit me 30 seconds later, I was in a crash. Okay, what happened? Then I realized, oh man, car’s screwed. Tried to start it up, wouldn’t start. I was completely stunned. I didn’t walk away injured at all and I’m very grateful for that.”
This year, Mulrooney is hoping for a much different outcome. With another year of experience and a fast car, he expects to win races and hopes to win the Young Lions championship at the Winter Nationals.
“This year, we’re looking pretty good,” Mulrooney explained. “We were seventh fastest overall in practice. I’m just looking forward to having a good show this year. I personally think Knox Racing has developed some great drivers and some great cars. I think, personally, if I’m on my game and I’m prepared for it, I’m ready to win honestly. That’s what I came here for. I didn’t come here to finish second or third. I came here to win the Winter Nationals and win the Young Lions championship.”
Mulrooney’s love for cars and racing began at a young age and he’s been hooked ever since.
“My grandma started me off when I was four or five,” Mulrooney said. “I saw a toy car and I was completely enamored by it. It was just one of the coolest things I’ve seen. I figured I could move it so I moved it. I got into the whole Cars fad and my parents got me a racecar, like Sally from the movie, and I was completely stunned by, I loved doing it. I’m still happy doing it to this day because it’s the one thing that I love, the only thing that I love.”
Last season, Mulrooney picked up four wins at his home track, Barberdon Speedway in Norton, Ohio. He finished second in points to his Knox Racing teammate, Cale Grimes. This season, he plans to go back and chase the championship once again at Barberdon Speedway.
“We’re probably going to race at my local track in Norton, Ohio. That’s probably our main focus for this year, get a couple wins there and maybe get the track championship. We might go up to Michigan. Don’t know yet. This FZ09 engine is a beast and I love to have it.”
Mulrooney will race in an orange and white no. 2 car in the Young Lions division all week. Green flag racing will get underway around 12pm EST. The race can be seen live on LegendsNation.TV.