Mullinax Racing: Racing to leave a family legacy
Published 12:13 pm Thursday, March 16, 2023
By LAUREN SEXTON | Sports Reporter
PELHAM – Vin Diesel wasn’t lying when he said “I don’t have friends, I have family” in his famous racing franchise. While most of the major blockbuster franchises are more fictional than realistic, it does bring truth to the importance of family in the racing world.
Alabama is not only home to some of the best football and basketball teams in the country, but home to the best race car driving in the country. What would “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby ” be without the forever famous Talladega Superspeedway? For brothers Maddux and Caden Mullinax, they were born to race.
The Mullinax brothers are not newcomers to the Alabama racing scene. The two have been a part of a line of Mullinax race car drivers starting with their grandfather and then their father.
“We’re what you call a family legacy team,” said Maddux Mullinax. “We have guys who run for us, we actually have three drivers and three cars. We’ve been doing it in this fashion for a few years. This whole team kind of started out with my dad and my grandfather. They got together and started the race team back in the 90s. They were both drivers for a different team and that’s kind of spilled over. They raced all across the southeast and late models on asphalt and on dirt.”
The two were familiarized with the world of racing from a very young age from their father and grandfather having spent decades at the track prior to the birth of Maddx and Caden.
“We both grew up at the racetrack,” Caden Mullinax said. “We have pictures of us in victory lane with our dad when we wouldn’t even talk.”
Maddux being the older of the two brothers began his racing journey at a young age. He began racing go-karts while in middle school when he was 13 years old and then raced well into high school until he went on to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Caden, on the other hand, started his racing career toward the end of his high school years.
“The team shifted away from my dad and kind of focused on me,” Maddux Mullinax. “Then I went off to college and we picked up another driver, Josh Atkins. We picked him up, and he’s done really good for us. A couple of years ago, Caden picked up racing.”
While both brothers fell in love with racing after years of watching their father and grandfather race, Maddux’s career started on a somber note after losing his grandfather just days prior to his first race as a driver.
“I started out driving myself in 2010,” Maddux Mullinax said. “My first race was actually the day of my grandfather’s funeral, he just missed my first race by five days.”
With the devastating loss of the Mullinax’s first generation racecar driver, it was an incredibly difficult time for a young Maddux who just started his race car driving career, however, he was fortunate enough to find a grandfather figure in NASCAR living legend Charles “Red” Farmer, which took the importance of the family atmosphere in racing to a new level.
“The man who stepped into that role when my granddad died was Red Farmer,” Maddux Mullinax said. “He’s a living racing legend. I’ve known him my whole life and he took over my grandfather figure. Literally, in a way when he married my grandma a few years ago. We showed up for opening night at Talladega track,” Maddux Mullinax said. “My engine blew, and my brakes went out in practice. I didn’t have a ride and he said you can hop in my car.”
For Caden Mullinax, his career as a driver started later than his brother, father and grandfather. Caden Mullinax was prepared to take a different path than the rest of his family, yet somehow found himself back in the family legacy team
“I started not wanting to do everything that everyone else was doing,” Caden Mullinax said. “Everybody wanted to go to the racetrack, I didn’t want to go. In 2019 I was going indoor go-karting around here. I was like I’ll try it and did the league for a year and a half. Then COVID happened and it was me and a couple of my buddies and that made me really like racing “
From time to time, Maddux and Caden find themselves sharing the track rather than being on the same team.
“It pushes me harder,” Caden Mullinax said. “I’ve always been a little brother, you always want to beat the bigger brother. It’s just fun to go and beat him and it’s the same for Maddux. We’re both super competitive. You have to have it to win and to be successful in racing.”
With the racing bug embedded into their DNA, it made competing against each other all the more rewarding for Maddux and Caden Mullinax.
“Both I and Caden made a race one night,” Maddux Mullinax said. “Which was really cool. That was one of the bigger events that we’ve ever made. You were there for three days of prep, a whole day of practice, a whole day of just qualifying and then a whole day of feature races.”
Although the legacy family has spent decades within the racing community, the Mullinax brothers continue to set new goals to achieve for the team and the family.
“The top level is what is the Lucas Oil racing series,” Maddux Mullinax said. Then the NASCAR drivers race for big prizes. In between, those are different race series, one that we dabble in every now and then is called the Ironman late model series, they have different traveling series. There are different levels where you can put us in, but we’re trying to go to the top soon. We’re right in the middle, where we’re running a few pro races here and there most of the season, which is pretty good.”
For now, Maddux and Caden continue to race and build up the team’s experience and continue the family legacy that their grandfather, father and friends who are practically family have established for the Mullinax Racing team.
Whether you are one of the top guys or the guys in the very back,” Maddux Mullinax said. “You race to have fun. You want to go out there and enjoy your time.”
Maddux and Caden Mullinax are based in Pelham where they spend time in the Mullinax Racing garage, while garage cat Checkers causes occasional trouble. When not in Pelham, the brothers spend the race season traveling across the southeast. For updates about the Mullinax team can be found at https://www.mullinaxracing.com/.