Tom Hessert, Christopher Bell & Dalton Sargeant Lead the Charge
Concord, North Carolina (September 14, 2016) – Venturini Motorsports (VMS), winners of three of the last four ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards events, returns home in search of their fifth team victory this season in Thursday night’s SCOTT® 150 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Venturini Motorsports, a long-time fixture on the ARCA tour, is well-known in the Chicago area. Led by Bill Venturini, VMS team owner and 2-time ARCA Champion, the organization began its motorsports rise over 40-years ago racing local short tracks such as Rockford Speedway, Iliana Speedway, Grundy County Speedway and Waukegan Speedway.
With a combined 43 ARCA Series victories to the team’s credit, the group is already one of the most decorated race teams in series history – second all-time in ARCA Series wins. Hoping to add to their Chicago and ARCA legacy, Venturini Motorsports hits the track this week with recent series winners, Tom Hessert, Christopher Bell and Dalton Sargeant in search of team’s third overall win at Chicagoland Speedway since the track’s opening in 2001.
Scott Lagasse (2008) and Kevin Swindell (2012) both won at Chicagoland Speedway driving under the Venturini Motorsport banner.
Tom Hessert Rolls into Chicago Bidding for ARCA’s Bill France Four Crown Championship
Tom Hessert roles into Chicago this week riding a hot streak. Backing up his recent series win at DuQuoin, the Cherry Hill, NJ native finished runner-up behind teammate Christopher Bell at Salem Speedway this past weekend.
Hessert, a six-time series winner, will mark his series return driving the No.25 Illinois Truck & Equipment Toyota on Chicagoland’s 1.5-mile surface. Second in ARCA’s national championship point standings, Hessert focuses his chi-town attention on ARCA’s prestigious Bill France Four Crown.
ARCA’s 2016 Bill France 4 Crown champion will be crowned when the annual four-race title fight wraps it up at Chicagoland Speedway with the SCOTT® 150 on September 15.
Leading national championship contender Chase Briscoe leads the way headed to Chicagoland, but not by much. Tom Hessert, on a late-season surge, trails by just 20 points.
“That’s only four spots on the race track,” Hessert said. “So this thing’s not over.”
Hessert won the race at DuQuoin and finished second at Salem Saturday last weekend.
“We have a little momentum the last few weeks…hopefully, we’ll carry that to Chicagoland. This is a very cool award…it’d be pretty neat to win it.”
While Hessert has finished first and second in his last two outings, Briscoe has finished fourth and sixth.
The Bill France Four Crown, which provides a link to the series’ roots by featuring a diverse combination of tracks in any given season, includes the New Jersey Motorsports Park road course, the Lucas Oil Raceway short track, the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds dirt mile and Chicagoland Speedway for 2016.
“The Bill France Four Crown Award speaks to the very nature of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards,” said ARCA President Ron Drager. “Considering our diverse schedule of super
speedways, short tracks, dirt ovals, and a road course, this award captures what our series is about. ”It also allows us to recognize our long standing respect and appreciation for the great leadership and professionalism Bill France Sr. contributed to ARCA, beginning in our formative years in the 1950s and continuing for decades.”
Christopher Bell Making Chicagoland Debut; Eyeing Back-to-Back Trips to Victory Lane
On the heels of his momentous ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards victory at Salem Speedway, the 100th running on the storied short track, rookie Christopher Bell is ready to ratchet it up another notch at Chicagoland Speedway in Thursday night’s SCOTT® ARCA 150.
“All I know is that you can rip the fence (at Chicagoland),” Bell said with a grin. “It looks like a really cool place…worn out where you can really move around.”
Bell, who swept both ARCA wins at Salem this year, will be aboard the No.15 JBL Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports at Chicagoland.
“I’m excited…looking forward to it. It’s my first mile-and-a-half with ARCA.”
Bell will also rely on some good friends in high profile places.
“I’m friends with Kyle Larson. He runs really well on that track (Chicagoland). He tells me it’s worn out and you can really move around. That should be a place I enjoy.
“The ARCA cars don’t seem to move around quite as much as the Trucks do, but I think it’ll be a really good race. Looking at the entry list, it looks like a really tough, competitive field.”
Dalton Sargeant Ready for Bright Lights and Big City Action at Chicagoland Speedway
Dalton Sargeant, one of the top leading ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards rookies, will make his first track appearance at Chicagoland Speedway when the series visits the Joliet, Illinois track for the 15th annual SCOTT® 150 on Thursday, September 15.
“Chicagoland is definitely a place I’d like to win, especially in the Venturini’s backyard,” said Sargeant. “Our 55-Toyota Racing Development – Windows 10 Camry has been fast everywhere we’ve gone this year and I expect that to continue this week. Billy (Venturini) and the guys back at the shop have given us fast race cars.”
Sargeant, who earned his first ARCA career win at Berlin in August, has notched (8) top-5 and (10) top-10 finishes in 12-series starts.
“Chicago is the first of three remaining mile and a half tracks left on our schedule. These races are important – I want to finish off the season strong.”
Prior to Thursday’s night race, Sargeant will make an appearance and greet fans at the ‘Race Fan Rally’ in downtown Joliet, Illinois.
Held in conjunction with Chicagoland Speedway and the city of Joliet, Illinois, the ‘Race Fan Rally’ is an annual single-day NASCAR fan fest held on Wednesday, September 14 before the ARCA and Sprint Cup races at Chicagoland Speedway. The Race Fan Rally is FREE to the public and will include show cars, cup cars, junior dragsters, midgets, race simulators, ARCA haulers and on stage driver interviews and autograph sessions.
The block party located in downtown Joliet is from 4 to 10 P.M and will conclude with a firework display. Dalton is scheduled to appear on the mainstage for Q&A and autographs at 9:00 P.M.
This year’s SCOTT® 150 at Chicagoland will set the stage for an exciting weekend of NASCAR racing action including Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series races. The weekend also kicks off NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, the playoff system used to crown the 2016 Sprint Cup champion.
The SCOTT® 150 is live on FS1 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Thursday night, September 15. The race will follow a busy day of on-track activities beginning with ARCA practice from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. local Central time. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is scheduled at 4:10 p.m. ARCAracing.com will provide live timing and scoring and live chat for 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.