Mullen now on cusp of history following sensational showing in Quincy Derby

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Tanner Wisely picked up a combined nine victories in Saturday's three divisions and now owns a 49-24 career record, the most wins by a boy in Quincy Derby history. | Samantha Carmean

QUINCY Kalli Mullen is aware of the numbers. Very, very aware.

Mullen, who on Saturday became the first back-to-back Super Stock champion and first racer to win two major titles in the same year in the Quincy Derby, also wants to become the event’s all-time victory leader before she retires.

“That’s very important to me,” said Mullen, a 15-year-old sophomore-to-be at Bluffs High School. “I’ve been looking at those (race records) for a long time.” 

Mullen has an excellent opportunity to reach that goal in 2025, following her sensational showing Saturday on the 18th Street Hill that sits in the shadow of Bob Mays Park inside the Edward Schneidman Industrial Park.

Mullen, who also won the Masters Elite championship, now sits with 61 career victories. That’s just five wins behind the legendary Jayden Vogel (66), who won six titles (all in the Stock class) before retiring after the 2022 event. Mullen’s 61-17 career record carries a .783 winning percentage, which is also No. 1, just ahead of Vogel’s .767.

“I didn’t really know about the records until she told me (in the offseason),” said Tim Mullen, Kalli’s dad and No. 1 fan. “I couldn’t be any more proud of her than I am right now.”

All-Time Quincy Derby Victory Leaders

DriverWinsLosses
Jadyn Vogel6620
Kalli Mullen6117
Tanner Wisely4924
Kaelyn Hess4724
Tyler Wisely4014

Drivers with multiple championships

DriverChampionships
Jadyn Vogel6
Kalli Mullen4
Kayla Reichert2
Kaelyn Hess2
Logan Steinkoenig2

In addition, Mullen’s four total championships rank behind only Vogel’s half dozen. 

Mullen won her second straight Super Stock crown when she topped Eli Mixon of New London, Mo., in the finals. Mixon, who was 7-2 in the day-long Grand Prix of Gravity, has no desire of someday trying to chase down Mullen in the derby record books.

This was Mixon’s first derby and likely his last.

“This was probably it for me,” he said. “I had never done this before today, and I’m pretty sure I’m one and done.”

For his effort, Mixon was named the event’s rookie of the year.

Mullen and Mixon had each won separate divisions of the massive 70-racer, double-elimination Super Stock bracket. The field was broken into two 35-racer divisions, with Mixon emerging unbeaten from one and Mullen having one loss en route to winning the other. Mullen then had to defeat Mixon twice in the finals — and did.

“I felt like I was getting (stronger) as the day was settling in,” Mullen said. “I just concentrated on trying to win.”

Audrey Robison and Tanner Wisely finished third and fourth, respectively.

Mullen defeated Lanie Fesler in the Masters Elite finals, with Wisely ending up third and Wyatt Terwelp fourth. Mullen was 5-0 in that class, Fessler 4-2.

Although not winning a championship, Wisely continued his own assault on the record books. He picked up a combined nine wins in Saturday’s three divisions and now owns a 49-24 career record, the most wins by a boy in derby history. His victory total trails only Vogel and Mullen.

Elizabeth Boudreau rounded out the day’s champions, securing the Stock title with a 7-0 record and defeating Robison (7-2) in the finals. Boudreau will likely always remember her her trip down Derby Hill in the finals.

“I was thinking about how great it would be to win (the championship) all the way down the hill,” Boudreau said.

Macy Sonethongkham collected third place and Riley Grant fourth. Sonethongkham also earned the Hard Charger Award with a 9-2 overall record that included eight straight wins in the losers’ bracket before being eliminated.

Ray Wilson, who has served as derby director since 2012, says work on the 2025 event is already underway.

“We’re already critiquing what we can improve on, what we can do better,” he said. “The derby is truly a celebration of our community, and our goal is to continue making it better.”

This year’s event drew a record 237 participants. That included 134 Saturday and 103 on Friday for the Super Kids division for those youngsters with intellectual and/or physical difficulties.

“Is all the hard work, preparation, year-round dedication worth it?” Wilson said. “You bet it is. All you have to do do is see the look on one of these kids’ faces.” 

Notes

  • Only five drivers in derby history have more won than one championship. Following the combined 10 of Vogel (6) and Mullen (4), Kaelyn Hess (2013, 2012 Stock), Kayla Reichert (2010, 2006 Super Stock) and Logan Steinkoenig (2011, 2010 Stock) each won two.
  • Mullen how has seven final-four finishes, one shy of Vogel’s record of eight. Wisely has six.
  • Girls swept all three major titles for the third time in the last four years and now hold an edge in derby championships 25-20.
  • Mullen’s 78 total derby races now trails only Vogel (86). Wisely has 76.
  • The 70 Super Stock racers was a derby record, surpassing 64 in both 2023 and 2021.  
  • The 54 Stock participants were the fourth most in the event’s 20 years, topped only by 61 in 2022, 55 in 2017 and 54 in 2019.

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