Mueller to attempt to win dirt and asphalt championships
By Bert Lehman
Editor, Full Throttle Magazine
Brad Mueller will attempt to do something in 2016 that he said has never been done in Wisconsin in the Late Model division — win a track championship at a dirt track and an asphalt track in the same year.
In an effort to accomplish that goal, he will race a Dirt Late Model on a weekly basis at Plymouth Dirt Track on Saturday nights, and an Asphalt Super Late Model at Slinger Super Speedway on Sunday nights.
He is no stranger to either track.
Since 2008 Mueller has raced weekly at Plymouth Dirt Track, winning the Late Model track championship at the track in 2011, 2013 and 2015. He finished second in the points in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
After racing weekly at Slinger Super Speedway in the early 2000s, Mueller has raced there on a part-time basis the past few years.
“We’ve won every race there (Slinger) except the Slinger Nationals,” Mueller said. “I’ve finished second in it five times. I finished second to Lowell Bennett probably three of those five times. It used to be 250 laps. If it would have been 200 laps like it is now we would have won it three times.”
Winning a championship on any race surface is challenging. Winning a championship on two different race surfaces in the same year will include challenges nobody has experienced before, something that’s not lost on Mueller.
“I talked to my guys (crew). We’re working on sponsor deals right now and I asked my guys if they can commit themselves to four months of busting your ass because that’s what it’s going to take to do it,” Mueller said in early January. “If we can win them both, that’s something that nobody has ever done. That would be absolutely awesome to do.”
He added that asphalt racing is a little more grueling because there are so many more laps.
“I was 20 pounds lighter when I raced asphalt because it’s so hot,” he said. “It’s 120 degrees in the car.”
Car setup will also be challenging.
“Myself, being my own crew chief, and having to have to know all the setups and everything, it’s a little bit of a challenge when I go to Plymouth on Saturday night with one mentality and then I switch everything over and go to Slinger on Sunday nights with completely different thoughts on how to make the car work.”
Mueller said the transition between a Dirt and Asphalt Late Model is huge.
“I always said asphalt is 30 percent driver and 70 percent car,” Mueller said. “I might be over exaggerating a little bit, but if your asphalt car is off a little bit you’re going to struggle. You’re going to have a bad day. If your dirt car is off a little bit, you can change your groove, wiggle your ass around in the seat a little bit and find a groove that works for you. And you can usually still go to the front.”
Asked why he is attempting to win a championship on each racing surface this year, Mueller said, “Because it’s never been done. I want to go back to Slinger because we were so competitive there back in the 2000s and there are a couple of guys there who are really fast right now — Steve Apel and Dennis Prunty. All you hear is ‘Dennis won’ or ‘Steve won,’ and nobody can run with those guys. I want to go back there and start winning again.”