Concord, NC (June 10, 2013) – After nearly 40 hours of continuous rain in the Pocono Mountains washed out Friday’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards qualifying for the Pocono ARCA 200 the field for Saturday’s race was set by owner’s points, putting Venturini Motorsports (VMS) entries securely into the top-10 starting positions.
Leading the way for VMS was 17-year old rookie, Erik Jones. Jones, who looked like anything but a rookie, led 20-laps and brought his No. 15 Toyota Care – The Truth Band Camry home in second place.
This was the first race under ARCA’s recent rule change allowing approved 17-year old drivers the opportunity to race on intermediate speedway tracks. A test date early in the week gave Jones a day to get acquainted with the car and how it felt to reach peak speeds of over 200 mph. Ending the test on top of the speed charts, Jones felt more at ease going into the race on Saturday.
“Coming out to the test was a big advantage for us today,” stated Jones after his second place finish. “It proved to be an asset since practice and qualifying got rained out on Friday. Starting order was determined by owner points, which the No. 15 was in fifth, so I knew we would still have a solid starting position.”
Nine time series champion, Frank Kimmel, took the lead early in the 80 lap race but failed to hold off Jones as he charged to the lead on lap 23. Gaining a nine second lead over the field, the teenager lost everything he gained on lap-43 when he ran out of fuel while attempting a green flag pit stop, forcing him to coast around the 2.5 mile speedway. Slight trouble re-firing the car and a pit road penalty, meant Jones would have to restart at the tail end of the longest line when the green flag flew.
Using the strength of his Joe Gibbs Racing motor, Jones worked through lap traffic and with less than ten laps to go, closed the gap of five seconds between him and eventual race winner Elliot to .676 seconds when the two crossed the start finish line. During the ten lap shoot out, Jones laid down the fastest lap of the day with a time of 53.072 seconds equating to 169.581 mph.
“Our big advantage today was how our car cut in the corners which allowed us to drive away from everyone,” said Jones after the race. “Kevin Reed and my Venturini Motorsports team gave me a great set up that worked the whole race. We knew we could go around 40 laps without running out of fuel and when a car stopped on the track we thought for sure the caution would come out, it just didn’t happen in time. This kind of second place finish is a little harder to swallow but I’m glad we were able to show off the strength of our Toyota race car and bring it back home in one piece.”
AJ Henriksen, driver of the No.55 Engineered Components Company Toyota Camry, scored his 30th career top-10 finish with his strong seventh place showing at the “Tricky Triangle.” Henriksen will be back in action with VMS in two weeks when the ARCA series makes it first visit to Road America, the first of two road courses on the 2013 series schedule.
Justin Boston, diver of the No.25 ZLOOP Computer and Electronic Recycling Toyota Camry, claimed his third consecutive top-10 finish of the season and gave VMS three cars in the top-10 at Pocono Raceway. Boston who sits in the sixth position in the series point standings is looking ahead to this weekend when the ARCA series rolls into the Irish Hills of Michigan and Michigan International Speedway.
Milka Duno, driver of the No.35 Cantv-Milka Way Toyota Camry, finished 14th scoring her fifth overall top-15 finish of the season.
Next up for VMS and the ARCA series is the ARCA 200 from Michigan International Speedway. Practice for the event is scheduled for Thursday afternoon from 1:05 p.m. through 3:30 p.m. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is slated for Friday morning at 10 a.m. In addition to live coverage on SPEED at 5 p.m. eastern, the event will feature live timing and scoring of all on-track activity at ARCAracing.com.ya
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, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Brian Scott, Kevin Swindell, Miguel Paludo, John Wes Townley, Josh Richards and Johanna Long.
In 2012, VMS and 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, among others.
After nearly two decades away from NASCAR, 2013 marks VMS’s modern day return to the series with John Wes Townley driving the team’s familiar No.25 in selective NASCAR Nationwide Series events.
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