April 25, 2016 (Concord, NC) – Venturini Motorsports turned in a strong performance over the weekend led by Christopher Bell’s dominating performance in Sunday’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway.
Christopher Bell Wins in ARCA Debut Handing Venturini Motorsports 40th Series Victory
Bell, making his first career ARCA Series start, drove his No. 66 JBL sponsored Toyota to victory lane, leading 91 laps overall, including the final 44 of the 200-lap race.
“You’re only as good as the cars you sit in, so I’m lucky to sit a fast one today,” said Bell. “I just can’t thank everyone enough – JBL, Toyota, Venturini Motorsports and all the guys on the team.”
“Things were pretty smooth the first half over that long green flag run. Then we had a bobble on that first pit stop. I took off and the motor laid down a little. We were okay on long green flag runs so it was fortunate to get that last green flag run to finish the race. These General Tires really hung in there all day and saved us after the motor went away. It was so dirty up there, and we ended up side-by-side…it didn’t stick and we plugged the wall. We just kept digging. This place is so abrasive…there’s so much slipping and sliding going on…I think it benefits us dirt racers.”
Bell’s victory, his first in ARCA, was Venturini Motorsports’ 40th team victory in series competition.
Sargeant Breaks Through with 3rd Place Finish in ARCA Debut
ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards rookie driver Dalton Sargeant delivered a solid performance over the weekend driving his No.55 Toyota Racing Development Toyota Camry to a third-place finish in his series debut at Salem Speedway.
“It was definitely a very eventful race, hats off to the entire Venturini Motorsports team because they gave me a great car with great pit stops all day,” said Sargeant.
Sargeant, who qualified third, had his hands full as he navigated around the Indiana short track balancing his inexperience along with a tough racing surface known for punishing conditions both equipment and driver stamina.
“I struggled in the beginning…trying to get familiar with the track and getting used to the tires falling off,” Sargeant said. “But once I began to figure things out, we started to pick up speed. I was hoping for a caution there at the end to battle the leaders…I think we had something for them. But, overall, I’m really happy with our finish. To finish in the top three in our ARCA debut is really cool. I’ve never been anywhere quite like this place. When we come back, we’re going to be really strong.”
With a solid starting position the 18-year old driver would fall back early yet maintaining a solid top-10 running position early in the race.
“The position we were in towards the mid-way point didn’t reflect how good we were, so when all the tires and pit strategy leveled off we went from ninth to third in the closing laps,” said Sargeant.
Sargeant would pit twice during the race with the first coming on lap 74. Sargeant’s second pit stop was on lap 133 after a caution had been raised. He took four new tires which allowed him to push his No.55 Toyota Camry powered by Windows 10 back towards the front to make up the ground he had lost earlier.
With his first ARCA race in the record books, Sargeant looks ahead to his next race, the General Tire 200 at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday, April 29.
“The largest track I’ve ever been on is a mile in length,” said Sargeant. “It will most definitely be a challenge with limited track time, practice, qualify and race all on the same day, but with an experienced team and crew, I know I’ll be in good hands.”
Tom Hessert Inching Closer with 6th Place Finish at Salem Speedway
Tom Hessert turned in a season best sixth-place finish in Sunday’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway.
In just his third series event of the season, Hessert along with his new team, Venturini Motorsports, put together a solid race running up front the entire day during the 200-lap event at Salem.
“We’ve had some bad luck early on this season at Daytona and Nashville,” said Hessert. “We’re getting better and headed in the right direction. Today was a perfect example as we had solid car and respectable finish.”
Hessert, who qualified 16th in his No.25 Renton Coil Spring Toyota, relied on his track experience to move inside the top-10 early on where he’d maintain his position the entire afternoon.
Gambling on pit strategy, Hessert’s crew chief Ryan London elected to take four fresh General Tires on the first pit stop (lap 74) giving the veteran driver the ability to navigate his way through traffic and drive into the second running position near the mid-way point of the race.
However, a late race caution on lap-130 allowed other teams to take four tires and pressure Hessert in the late stages of the race. Hessert would hold on for his first top-10 of the season.
After a quick turnaround Hessert now prepares for Friday night’s General Tire 200 at Talladega Superspeedway – a race he won in 2014.
ABOUT VENTURINI MOTORSPORTS:
Venturini Motorsports (VMS), fielding cars for over 30-years in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, is one of the premier NASCAR driver development programs in the country. Multiple team championships and consistent on-track success, VMS has evolved into one of the most recognizable names in motorsports. Since 2007, VMS has assisted in the career development of notable NASCAR drivers such as Joey Logano, Justin Allgaier, Brian Scott, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Brennan Poole, John Wes Townley, and Brandon Jones. Over the years the Venturini name has become synonymous with modern-day racing in America. In 2012, the Venturini family was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and now find themselves enshrined with such sports icons as Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Vince Lombardi, Tommy Lasorda and Rocky Marciano.