Day Motor Sports Driver Profile: Marcus Mikulencak carrying on a family tradition

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — You’ve heard the last name for many years, thanks to his father’s decades of success around the ovals of South Texas. And while he may never match the total wins or titles his Dad earned, he’s emerged as a gifted racer in his own right in an impressive 13-year career of his own. 

For 25-year-old Marcus Mikulencak, carrying on the family tradition of success on the ovals is natural. In 2022, he earned eight feature wins, 21 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes. He had both the speed and consistency that eludes others, and he’s looking to carry that momentum forward into the 2023 season. 

“I was very fortunate recently to get hooked up with some very good people,” Mikulencak said. “Joe Aramendia at Aramendia Motorsports and James Cole with On Demand Shirts have done a lot for me the last couple of years. With such great people behind me, it’s much easier to succeed.

“It just all came together for us last year, and of course we’re looking to carry that into this season. We worked hard in 2022 to make sure the car was close right out of the box. Most nights, it was; but if it needed adjustments, we made them based on experience. We had a pretty strong car most of the year.”

As you can easily imagine, Mikulencak has been around the sport for as long as he can remember. 

“I started driving big cars when I was 12,” he explained. “I started out in the Bombers at South Texas Speedway, and did that for maybe half a season or so. Then we took that car and raced it on the asphalt at CC Speedway. We did pretty well, picking up a few feature wins while we were there.

“We went back to the dirt track again after a year on asphalt, earning a handful of wins in the Pure Stock division. After that, we ran the South Texas Street Stock Shootout Series for a year. Then I went back to the asphalt to run the TALMS program Cody Beddoe was running. We had a lot of fun in that series, as well.” 

Driving opportunities have never been scarce, and another good one came along about this time. 

“I got to drive a truck for Rick Pollaro,” Mikulencak added. “We picked up a win in that deal, which sure felt nice. After that, we kind of went back to the Sport Mod deal on dirt and remain there today. I spent the majority of my career driving my Dad’s cars, growing up helping and racing with him. 

“Getting to race under his supervision has been so helpful; having him teach me in the old school ways. He’s always wanted to offer guidance, yet also to have me figure things out on my own. He doesn’t race as much as he used to, but he’s excited about the Modified he’s building. I’m very grateful to have him.”

At tracks like South Texas Race Ranch, Texana Raceway Park and I-37, competition is always stiff. 

“I really think this Limited Modified class is one of the hardest to win a feature,” Mikulencak said. “To me, the Sport Mod deal in particular is tough because the cars are so even. Everybody’s cars are pretty much spot-on these days; so it kind of depends a lot on the luck of the draw. 

“It’s a hard deal, because you can’t start 25th and drive to the front any more. It just isn’t how this class works. It’s not like it is in the Mods or Late Models, where one good corner can be worth half a second. In these cars, you might blow a corner but you’ve only lost two tenths. They’re very forgiving cars, which makes it super competitive. It’s hard to gain ground on somebody when the cars are this even.”

When Mikulencak puts on his safety suit and gets ready to race, he climbs into a very capable machine.

“The car I drove last year belongs to Joe Aramendia,” Mikulencak explained. “It’s an IRP chassis, and is a very strong piece. I’ve been fortunate to drive it the last couple of years. It is powered by a motor from Mark Herring Race Engines, which has ample power and reliability. The car goes very well.” 

Along with his immense natural talent behind the wheel and rock-solid race car, Mikulencak also has several people and valued sponsors behind the scenes who keep his program on-track and successful. 

“I have a ton of folks to thank for the success we enjoyed last year, especially my family,” Mikulencak said. “I want to thank Megan, Lawrence, Patricia and Jimmy Mikulencak; along with Brad and Nathan Titzman. I’m blessed to have a very supportive family, and I appreciate all they do for my program. 

“I also need to thank our great Aramendia Motorsports sponsors from last year, including Vinco Plumbing, On Demand Shirts, Ace Transmission, RPM Equipment, Southbound and Down, and All In Designs. They helped us achieve all those wins and top-fives, and I sure appreciate their support.”

Mikulencak has driven for several car owners in his career, and appreciates every opportunity he gets. 

“I’ve been fortunate to drive race cars for my Dad, Lawrence Mikulencak; Joe Aramendia, Randy and Glenda Gregorcyk, Larry Smith, Jamie Fuller, Skip Gray, Brad Titzman, Rick Pollaro and Ray Doyon. I’ve also been blessed with great personal sponsors, like Ace Transmission, Jody Keys, L87 Speedway, Vinco Plumbing, On Demand Shirts, Mattress Firm, Continental Batteries and All In Designs.” 

As the 2023 season gets closer for race teams around South Texas, Mikulencak has few goals in mind. 

“We’ll go out to work on having at least as good of a year as we enjoyed last year, if not a little better,” he concluded. “We didn’t have as good of a car as we’d like at the Shootout in December, but you’ll have those nights. I’m really looking forward to a brand new season.” 

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer

Photo by Mike Frieri