Concord, North Carolina (September 26, 2016) – With the season winding down the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards visited Kentucky Speedway for what proved to be an action packed night of racing in Friday’s Crosley 150.
In a night race featuring five drivers back and forth for the top spot, it was Penske Racing’s development driver Austin Centric crossing the stripe in overtime fashion capturing his first career ARCA victory.
Venturini Motorsports’ (VMS) Dalton Sargeant (No. 55 Toyota Racing Development – Windows 10 Toyota) finished second with teammate Tom Hessert (No. 25 Acadiana Neurosurgery Toyota) capturing fourth place. Hessert further increased his second place hold in the ARCA series’ point standings with one race remaining.
Rookie Zane Smith, making his speedway debut with VMS, finished 24th after racing up front before getting caught up in a wreck between front runners Chase Briscoe and John Wes Townley on lap-77.
Despite Smith’s finish, the 17-year old rookie was fast all day, qualifying sixth, racing mostly inside the top-5 running positions before being forced to retire with damage sustained near the midway point of Friday’s race.
With Cunningham Motorsports’ Chase Briscoe taking a commanding championship lead into the series finale at Kansas Speedway, the final race will still deliver exciting drama as both Dalton Sargeant and Tom Hessert place bids for their own ARCA history.
After collecting his seventh top-3 finish of the season at Kentucky, Sargeant overtook Chase Briscoe and the 77 team for top spot in the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge Championship.
“We unloaded one of the best cars we’ve had all season long,” said Sargeant. “I gave it everything I had but it still wasn’t enough to catch Centric at the end. I’m proud of our team’s effort.”
The General Tire Superspeedway Challenge is a separate title that combines driver/owner points from all eight superspeedway the superspeedway races on the ARCA schedule. This year’s lineup includes Daytona, Talladega, Pocono (2), Michigan, Chicagoland, Kentucky and Kansas.
Sargeant, driver of the No.55 Toyota Racing Development – Windows 10 Toyota, enters Kansas with an advantage in the superspeedway challenge over Chase Briscoe driver of the No.77.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do going into Kansas. We’ve been hanging tight with the 77-team all season long in the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge and now we have a slight edge going into the finale,” said Sargeant. “ This is my opportunity to give my guys a shot to win the speedway challenge. They’ve been amazing all year, consistently giving me great race cars.”
The 18-year old Sargeant also stands to inherit ARCA’s Scott Rookie of the Year (ROY) honors should top competitor Briscoe indeed close out his series championship.
Tom Hessert, second behind Briscoe in ARCA’s driver championship point standings, holds a commanding 185 point lead over third-place competitor Matt Kurzejewski. Hessert, behind a late season surge, highlighted with a victory at DuQuoin, is poised to earn his highest career finish (second) in the ARCA standings.
In Hessert’s previous nine seasons he’s finished third twice (’10 & ’14) in ARCA’s national point standings.
“It was a great night for this Venturini Motorsports 25-team,” Hessert said. “We started thirteenth and finished fourth – gives us a lot to work with going into Kansas in a few weeks.”
Coming on strong when it mattered, Hessert has earned three top-5’s including a win and runner-up finish at Salem to go along with eight consecutive top-10 finishes during a stretch which started in August at Lucas Oil Raceway.
“It’s a true testament to the character of this team. We never gave up and we’ll keep going until the checkered flag waves at Kansas. ”
The ARCA Series season finale will take place at Kansas Speedway on Friday, October 14. Practice for the Kansas 150 is the same day from 9:30 a.m. to 10:25 a.m., with final practice following from 10:35 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is slotted in for 2:30 p.m. The 16th Kansas ARCA 150 is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., with live coverage on FS1. All times central, local time. ARCAracing.com will also feature Live Timing and Scoring and Live Chat of all on-track activities.
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, Erik Jones, William Byron, Justin Allgaier, Alex Bowman, Brian Scott, Ryan Blaney, Brennan Poole, Daniel Suarez, Brandon Jones and John Wes Townley. 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.