FEBRUARY 14, 2016 (DAYTONA BEACH, FL) – Eighteen-year old rookie William Byron, in his Daytona debut and third overall ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards career start, finished second behind race winner John Wes Townley in Saturday’s Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire season opening event.
Byron, driving the No.55 Liberty University Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports, matched his ARCA career best finish of second. Byron gained valuable superspeedway experience, which he will undoubtedly need for Friday night under the lights when he makes his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) debut at Daytona International Speedway driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).
“I was really looking, watching my mirrors to see what we might be able to do,” said Byron, the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion. “I came over the radio to see if I could back up to anyone to get a run, but by then we were only in a tight pack of three, so I had to sit tight. I’m thrilled with our finish. The win would’ve been nice, but I accomplished my goal of completing every lap and gaining experience for next week’s truck race.”
“I just want to thank Venturini Motorsports. They gave me a great racecar all weekend. I was really just learning all day, trying to stay patient and learn the process of drafting in the pack. When it got three-wide, you had to learn on the fly and put your trust in the guys around you.”
For the second consecutive year Venturini Motorsports plays the role of bridesmaid at Daytona. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Suarez, also in a Venturini Motorsports prepared Toyota, finished second in 2015’s ARCA opener.
Venturini Motorsports newcomer Tom Hessert qualified fourth and ran up front most of the afternoon before cutting a right rear tire taking him out of the mix and relinquishing the veteran driver to a disappointing 28th place finish in the No.25 Florida Lottery-Bullet Products Toyota.
“We had a good starting point and got shuffled around before we settled in the first couple rows. We had a good day going before our tire went down and that pretty much spoiled the rest of our day,” said Hessert.
“Daytona is great, I want to win here real bad, I think we had a real good shot today but it just didn’t work out. I’m disappointed but bottom line is all 20-races pay the same amount of points and we’ll be back at Nashville for another run.”
Hessert, the only full-time driver for Venturini Motorsports, will pilot the No.25 Toyota for the duration of the 2016 season.
Cartersville, Georgia’s Mark Thompson, driving the No.66 Phoenix Air Toyota, had a rough start after getting tagged in a lap-2 incident involving seven cars and again on lap-14 before pulling it into the garage settling for a 33rd place finish. Thompson, running a limited schedule, will return to the track at Talladega Superspeedway when the series visits the Alabama track for the forth race of the season on April 29th.
The ARCA Series will pause for nearly two-months before returning to action at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville on April 9th.
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.