Concord, NC (May 20, 2018) – On Saturday afternoon, Fifteen-year-old rookie Chandler Smith cemented his name in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards record books, becoming the first driver to win General Tire Poles in his first three starts.
Smith, in the No. 20 Smith General Contracting/Venturini Motorsports-prepared Toyota, will lead the field to green in today’s Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway.
The Talking Rock, Ga. driver put up the best time in practice Saturday afternoon with an average speed of 113.586 mph. Then it poured rain. With qualifying rained out, ARCA officials set the field according to Saturday’s practice speeds.
Smith’s pole also marks the fifth consecutive pole award earned by a Venturini Motorsports driver to start off the 2018 racing season. Smith joins teammates Natalie Decker and Michael Self who each won poles at Daytona and Talladega respectively.
Smith, who won General Tire Poles at Nashville and Salem, said there was more left in the car.
“We had a really good practice…we could have picked up more in our mock run,” said Smith.
“But that’s okay. In race trim we’re really good. This car is really s
porty…we’re going to be really good tomorrow. This just doesn’t get old. I could do this every day.”
Smith’s best finish so far is fifth in his first start at Nashville. At Salem he was racing his teammate Christian Eckes for the lead on the last lap when he cut a right-front tire. Smith is optimistic about his chances Sunday at Toledo; but not overly confident.
“We’ll see…I don’t want to jinx myself. I like this track so far. You can sort of clip the grass in three and four to help turn the car. It’s going to be an interesting race tomorrow.”
“I’m just so thankful for Venturini Motorsports, Toyota Racing and everyone who works so hard on this deal. I’m doing the best I can on my end. I’m really just giving it my all.”Smith also said he’s more excited than nervous for Sunday’s race.
“I don’t get nervous anymore. I’ve been doing this for 12 years now,” added the 15-year-old.
Joining Smith in today’s Menards 200 are Venturini Motorsports’ teammates Christian Eckes (No.15 JBL Toyota) starting third, Eddie Fatscher (No. 55 Jenel Construction Toyota) in his first career series attempt starting 15th and Natalie Decker (No.25 N29 Capital Partners Toyota) starting 17th.
Today’s Menards 200 will air live on MAVTV at 2pm EDT. Live timing and scoring can also be followed at ARCARACING.com.
ABOUT VENTURINI MOTORSPORTS:
Over the last 35-years Venturini Motorsports (VMS) has evolved into one of the most recognizable names in professional motorsports. Known for long-time dominance in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, Venturini Motorsports is held in high regard as one of the premier NASCAR driver development programs in the county. Since 2007, VMS has specialized in the career development of some of today’s top racing talent including current NASCAR “Stars” – Joey Logano, Erik Jones, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Darryl ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr., Daniel Suarez, Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Ben Rhoads, Ryan Reed, Brandon Jones, Matt Tifft, Brennan Poole, Dalton Sargeant, Justin Haley and Todd Gilliland. Integrity, dedication and continuous innovation paired with years of on-track success has helped define Venturini Motorsports as one of the longest tenured teams in all of modern day racing. In 2012, the Venturini racing family was recognized for their collective achievements and inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame – now finding themselves enshrined with such sports icons as Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Chip Ganassi, Andy Granatelli, Vince Lombardi, Tommy Lasorda and Rocky Marciano.