For veteran Auburndale Speedway flagman John Mullis, it was like any other race. He got up to his perch high above the race track and went to work, but what he didn’t know was that instead of the camera being on the cars, this time it was on him.
In a recent Facebook post that has taken the racing world by storm, short track racing fans have witnessed the passion Mullis has for his job. Amassing more than 177,000 views on the Sunshine State Racing page in less than a week, the industry has shown in a short amount of time the respect it has for the excitement he brings to the sport.
“Robert (Howell) had kind of mentioned to me having a camera on the flag stand and I was good with it. Then he said we’re not sure if we’re going to put it on the flag stand or maybe put it on your hat, but what I didn’t know is that they put it in the grandstand,” Mullis told Speed51.com. “I can’t wrap around my head how many views it’s gotten. I mean what is it: 164,000 or something? It makes me smile, but I did not expect anything like that, not even close.”
Known for his energetic approach to his job, Mullis is rarely seen without a caffeinated beverage in his hand and a smile on his face, a trait that has made him famous around the speedway between racers and fans alike.
“I’ve had people come up to me over the years and say, ‘Oh, you know, you do a great job. We love watching you.’ I appreciate that. It does mean a lot,” Mullis continued. But I never thought it would have gotten the kind of traction it has on Facebook. I never have thought that. It kind of makes you think; I’ve always enjoyed my job but maybe I need to enjoy it a little more.”
Locals know Mullis has always brought this energy to his job. But many don’t know where it comes from, or why he is so active up on the flag stand.
“My dad took me out to the track as a kid. It’s just what we did on Saturday nights. I just enjoyed it so much,” Mullis said. “Then when I went to start working there I enjoyed the people there. They had worked there for 20-30 years, and back then working at a race track was a prestigious job. They didn’t let just anyone do it.
“Ronnie Luckock was the one that I learned from and he was energetic and it just made sense to me, like a fork and a spoon you know? If you have one you gotta have the other and to do that job you got to put some energy into it and a lot of movement into it,” Mullis continued. “I asked him one time back when I first started, ‘Okay, I get it and I got the energy but how does that work?’ He said that the drivers will see you quicker if there’s movement in you rather than just standing there. The movement in you gets their attention.”
Not only is Mullis’s unique style gaining the attention of drivers and potentially increasing their safety, it has also gained the attention of fans from near and far. Standing in front of an audience at Auburndale Speedway, Moore has taken advantage of the opportunity he has to entertain those who chose to spend their Saturday nights at the race track.
-Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @ajorgensen24
-Photo credit: Sunshine State Racing Facebook