Christopher Bell and Dalton Sargeant Finish inside Top 5 at Chicago;
Tom Hessert Grabs 13th Top 10 of Season
Concord, North Carolina (September 18, 2016) – The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards kicked-off the highly anticipated NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase weekend Thursday night with the 15th annual SCOTT 150 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Closing in on the series season finale, Venturini Motorsports returned to their native city for race 18 of 20 on ARCA’s 2016 schedule.
Venturini with their customary three-car effort was led by standout rookie driver Christopher Bell (No.15 JBL Toyota) finishing third behind race winner Chase Briscoe and John Wes Townley. Dalton Sargeant (No.55 Toyota Racing Development-Windows 10 Toyota) bounced back finishing fifth for his ninth top 5 of the season and Tom Hessert (No.25 Illinois Equipment Rental-BrakeOMeter™ Toyota) rounded out the trio with a solid 10th place finish.
The next event for the ARCA Racing Series is the Crosley 150 at Kentucky Speedway on Friday night, September 23. Tom Hessert, Dalton Sargeant and Zane Smith will carry the VMS banner at Kentucky.
Christopher Bell Finishes Third in Chicago Debut with Venturini Motorsports
Standout rookie driver Christopher Bell pulled double duty action over the weekend competing in both the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Chicagoland Speedway.
Christopher Bell, a two-time ARCA Series winner, made his final scheduled series appearance of the season with Venturini Motorsports during Thursday night’s SCOTT 150 weekend opener at Chicagoland Speedway. Bell, who led laps during the race, finished third in a hard fought race behind the wheel of his JBL backed Toyota.
“To finish third today was a win for our team,” Bell said. “We struggled all day with speed; but every pit stop my guys made huge swings and got it better. The goal was to get laps and get confident and we accomplished that.”
Bell’s Chicagoland Speedway finish gave the 21-year old his third top-5 in five series attempts this season.
Living up to his pre-season billing, Bell finished his abbreviated ARCA schedule claiming two wins (Salem x2), a third-place at Chicago, seventh at Pocono & tenth at New Jersey driving for Venturini Motorsports.
“It would’ve been nice to get one more in Chicago but overall it was a great season with Venturini Motorsports,” added Bell. “I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity. The extra seat time really helped me a lot – getting to see tracks like Pocono and Chicago in advance of my truck starts made a difference. I just want to thank everyone… JBL, Toyota, Venturini Motorsports and all the ARCA fans for all their support.”
Bell, a full-time driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, finished fourth in Friday night’s truck race – officially locking himself into the eight driver NCWTS Championship Chase format which begins next week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Dalton Sargeant Finishes Fifth in First Chicago Appearance
Dalton Sargeant bounced back from a disappointing finish in his last series outing to finish fifth in Thursday night’s ARCA Racing Series Scott 150 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Earning his ninth top-5 of the season, Sargeant increased his season stats to nine top-5’s to go along with one victory and (11) top-10 finishes in just thirteen series starts.
“We had to work hard for this one,” said Sargeant. “Billy (Venturini) and the entire 55 Toyota Racing Development-Windows 10 Toyota team worked hard all day long. The bumps in three and four really disrupted the car and affected our drive off. We made a lot of adjustments throughout the race which helped and the guys in the pits were flawless tonight.”
With Sargeant’s strong finish at Chicago, the Boca Raton, Florida native further increased his bid for ARCA’s Rookie of the Year honors with only two series races remaining on the schedule.
The 18-year old Sargeant will look to finish the season strong competing in the final two series events – Kentucky Speedway (September 23) and Kansas Speedway (October 14).
Tom Hessert Collects Top-10 Finish at Chicago; Finishes Runner Up in ARCA’s Bill France Four Crown Standings
Tom Hessert went into competition at Chicago with a shot to take home the prestigious ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Bill France Four Crown Championship. Trailing Chase Briscoe by 20 points, Hessert, the nine year veteran needed to finish five spots better than the current series point’s leader.
Hessert’s Bill France Four Crown bid fell short as Briscoe dominated Thursday night’s SCOTT 150 at Chicagoland Speedway, winning his fifth race of the season and giving him the Four Crown edge. Hessert, finishing runner-up in the Four Crown standings, drove his No.25 Illinois Truck Equipment-BrakeOMeter™ Toyota to a 10th place finish.
“It’s really a disappointment we weren’t really able to challenge Briscoe tonight for the Four Crown,” said Hessert. “It would’ve been a really cool award to add to my list of accomplishments in the series. We fought it all day long. We just weren’t able to get the car where it needed to be – we struggled in practice in turns three and four – but after correcting that we ended up having trouble during the race in one and two. We just struggled getting back to the gas coming off of turn two which really hurt our performance tonight.”
This year’s Bill France 4 Crown included the New Jersey road course, the Lucas Oil Raceway short track, the DuQuoin mile dirt and Chicagoland.
Despite missing out on the special award, Hessert increased his second-place advantage in the drivers’ standings over fellow competitor Matt Kurzejewski. It was Hessert’s 13th top-10 of the season to go along with one victory and six top-5 finishes.
With no time to rest, Hessert and his Venturini Motorsports team will take to the track on Tuesday and participate in the ARCA open test session at Kentucky Speedway in preparation for next Friday night’s race.
Kentucky Open Test Tuesday, September 20
ARCA Racing Series officials are conducting an open test at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, September 20, with on-track testing from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with an hour break for lunch at noon. Media is invited to attend.
Kentucky Raceday Schedule, September 23
Practice for the Crosley 150 is Friday afternoon, September 23 from 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m., followed by Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell at 4:40 p.m. The Crosley 150 is scheduled to get the green flag just after 8:00 p.m. In addition to Live Timing and Scoring and Live Chat at arcaracing.com of all on-track activities, the Crosley 150 is live on FS2 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
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.