Mulkern, Sommerville Ready To Join Forces In 2011

FALMOUTH, Maine – They take two different approaches to their racing, but in the end they have a common goal. Mulkern Racing’s drivers just want to win.

“Obviously, in my mind I want to win the championship,” said the latest addition to the Mulkern Racing lineup, Canadian driver Lonnie Sommerville. “But I’m not going to finish sixth when I could have won the race because I’m worrying just about points. If you win races, points will take care of themselves.

“But at the same time, you have to be smart about it – but that’s what makes good race car drivers.”

Sommerville, from St. John, New Brunswick, will run the entire 2011 PASS North Series season in the Mulkern Racing No. 48 A.E. McKay Builders Chevrolet – marking his first full-time foray into PASS North competition after several seasons of part-time efforts coupled with a full-time run at the CARQUEST Tour north of the border.

The team finished second in the final PASS North standings last season with Ben Rowe behind the wheel of the No. 48. This season, they’ve brough Sommerville into the mix and added crew chief Gary Crooks of Crooks Racing in Mooresville, N.C.

“When we had the open ride (last fall), we were talking with Gary about working withus even before we were talking to Lonnie,” said Scott Mulkern, team owner and driver of the No. 84 Community Pharmacies/Southern Maine Motors Chevrolet. “Gary has a lot of confidence in Lonnie. Obviously, I’ve seen him race, and as far as the Canadian drivers, he’s one of the top dogs. He’s in that league – Scott Fraser, Patrick Laperle, those guys – and I’d put Lonnie right there.”

Despite competing right down until the final event of the 2010 season for the PASS championship, Mulkern said that the team won’t base success this season around the title hunt.

“Lonnie and Gary – the whole team – I know they do want to win it,” Mulkern said. “That’s what they’re shooting for, and more power to them. But as far as any pressure from me to win the championship, that’s not going to come from me. They’re racers, and that’s what it’s about to a lot of them, I know that. But for me, I just want to show up every week and be right there trying to win.

“If you look at my style and the way I sometimes shoot myself in the foot (in the race car), I don’t care about that championship stuff. Not at all. That’s just the way I am. But we also have seen what Lonnie can do. We know what he can do. If he’s got a good car, and things are going his way, he can win any race.”

Sommerville said the opportunity to drive for Mulkern Racing, and no longer have to maintain his own equipment, made it the right time to make the jump to PASS.

“This is the next level, the next step in my career,” Sommerville said. “There are racing goals you want to accomplish in life, and the the northeast, the PASS Tour has the best teams and best drivers onit. Aside from winning a CARQUEST championship, I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do so far. This is where I wanted to take my career.”

And Sommerville believes that the pieces are in place to accomplish both of the team’s goals – winning races and winning the PASS North Series title in 2011.

“The team they’ve put together, as far as I’m concerned, is as good or better than any as we’re going to run against,” he said. “I don’t feel a lot of pressure, but having been given this opportnity, I’m confident I can go and beat (five-time PASS champion) Johnny Clark and those guys. Maybe not every week, but as much as they’re going to beat us – and that’s really exciting.”