Briana Mulvihill with Wings and Wheels, Building a ‘Foundation’ for the Next Generation of Racers
Executive Director of Wings and Wheels Foundation, Briana Mulvihill, joins Dane Neal on WGN Radio. Hear as Briana shares the message and mission of the foundation that supports young and up-and-coming drivers toward their goals on track and in motorsports. Listen as Briana fills us in on the excitement around their driver Andre Castro, who has been part of Wings and Wheels for over a year. Through foundation support, Andre has tested at top simulators, raced in open-wheel series’ and recently in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with a start during Brickyard weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
For more information on the foundation, team, drivers, and ways to support the next generation in racing, go to https://www.wingsandwheelsfoundation.com/
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Originally posted on WGNRadio.com on Aug 13, 2023
BRIANA: Our goal is to have a little Wings and Wheels logo on a whole bunch of cars and open wheel and NASCAR and, you know, bring on the next generation. We’re trying to build a community and a family and support the next generation of racers.
DANE NEAL: 720 WGN is typically high atop Chicago in the skyline studio, but here at the epicenter of racing awesomeness, right? The amazing and iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Briana Mulvihill. She’s the executive director of Wings and Wheels, a foundation that is laying the foundation for that next generation of drivers in a bunch of different ways right here at the racing capitol. So Brianna, welcome to WGN.
BRIANA: Thank you for having us.
DANE: So this is really cool. This is a great place to be. And we always say that there’s no substitute for being here in racing, but when it comes to drivers, and when it comes to that barrier of entry and getting into not only spectating but being part of it and driving it on the track, it’s hard to do, right. It’s one of those things that’s the mission of the foundation.
BRIANA: Absolutely. So what we do is we like to raise funds and have a good time, and we identify drivers who need help financially and help build them up in their racing careers.
DANE: You ask the drivers; they all need help financially, even like Jeff Gordon, back when he was he’s still in his team, made a case that they needed help financially. How do you find the drivers you would want to support? I think that’s one of the important things, too, because you want to have people with a little potential and give them that leg up in the sport.
BRIANA: Absolutely. So our drivers typically, if we don’t step in and help won’t run the race. They won’t move to the next step. Sometimes it’s even as I don’t have enough money to have enough tires to do this race. That is literally all a lot of people need. That’s where we’re set up to step in and fill that need. We all have our ambassadors that we help out, but we’re also set up to do those one-time races where I don’t have enough money to pay my crew. We can’t go because I don’t have a crew, or I don’t have money for tires, or my engine blew, and I’m top in the points, and I want to drop out. So that’s where we can step in and help out these drivers.
DANE: I see it. I don’t see it all the time, but I see it pretty often, especially as new opportunities for people to get into the sport start to come about, you know, with the opening of Chicagoland Speedway got a chance to talk to Kyle petty and I said people are going to be inspired by racing happening here. You are happier. They’re gonna say, I want to be a racecar driver. It’s not like football; you can’t go out for a sport. His response was, “No, someone with a lot of money.” I mean, it’s totally useless, but it’s completely correct. Or at least it was at the time. That is really the barrier.
BRIANA: It really is. The financial constraint on racing is just increased and increases every year exponentially on top of racing and helping out in those last little bits. We’ve also started a program for people just getting into racing to where they can get seat time. We are also building a program to teach them how to find sponsors, how to talk to them, how to do interviews, how to sit in front of a board, what you should look like things you need to do to not only market your team, but yourself so that you can raise your own money as well.
DANE: That is so important that it just really isn’t a school or a course for it other than Wings and Wheels because I want to say maybe as much, but it’s certainly an important part of it; your success and your ability on the track. But you have to be this great ambassador not only for you, yourself, and the brand you’re racing but also for sponsors.
BRIANA: Absolutely, sponsors are gonna want to know that hey, I promote you, it’s not gonna bite me in the butt, and that they can continue to promote their own brand as well as yourself.
DANE: Andre Castro is a case in point, right he’s someone with a ton of talent. Somebody that has all the ability in the world but doesn’t have, like you said, doesn’t have maybe the dollars to do it on his own. He is here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He is racing in the XFINITY race. You’ve been a part of his origins. You’re a part of this weekend’s race.
BRIANA: Absolutely. Andre has been with Wings and Wheels and our sister company Future Star Racing for a year, and we helped him run the F4 series, and last year he did the Griffis test — the combined test is what they call it now for IMS in the USF2000 car, and he ran the fastest lap out here with those last year. He’s got potential; he knows the track; he’s got a good backing team with Jesse Iwuji and Hendrick Motorsports, Power Racing Engine, and he’s set up. It’s up to him.
DANE: It’s one of the things, of course, we’ll be talking a little bit with Andre as well. As far as the simulators, and some of the times he’s had some of those best times. He’ll be racing his way into the race here this weekend. And so let’s see, like what do you expect from Windsor Wheels for, let’s say, someone who comes to the program benefits from the program these opportunities they wouldn’t have. You’ll have ambassadors out there in the world.
BRIANA: Absolutely. Our goal is to have a little Wings And Wheels logo on a whole bunch of cars in open-wheel and NASCAR and, you know, not only just promote us but to further, you know, bring on the next generation as we’re not doing this one time. We’re trying to build a community and a family of racers that keep going and then support the next generation of racers. We don’t want it to stop with just one.
DANE: You guys are doing a public service because you think about it like that that there are so many people who would love to see young drivers; they would love to see people have opportunities in racing, but you can’t do it just like the drivers can’t do it on their own. They can’t do it on their own, but it’s an opportunity to have them be able to support the foundation, whether it’s I don’t know how that works. Of course, we’ll have links up at WGN radio.com. But, like, people could probably donate, you know, $5, $20, $100, whatever they could give right towards the future of racing.
BRIANA: Absolutely. So we’re set up for donors to give $5, or the sky’s the limit. You can go to our website, WingsAndWheelsFoundation.com, and go to support, and that’s where you can support our specific Ambassador drivers, or you can give to the general fund to where we can do the one-offs.
DANE: We’ll have links up again at WGN radio.com. The future of racing is right here. And its Wings And Wheels. So many drivers in the future are going to be getting on those tracks because of their support of Andre Castro this weekend as well with a chance to win in victory lane and not only winning for himself but for that future and for Wings And Wheels, so Brianna we’ll let you get back to it, a lot to do this weekend. Thanks for jumping on the show today.
BRIANA: Thanks for having me.
Featured image: Briana Mulvihill and Andre Castro on track (Dane Neal / WGN Radio). © 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.