Walt Brannen recorded his second top ten and highest finish of the season Friday night at Kentucky Speedway. Brannen’s season best 8th came along with his first start under the lights. “
“That was so much fun,” Brannen said. “I just wish that we had more laps to run.”
Under the second caution crew chief Robby Benton’s decision to pit with only a few leaders, was one that paid off for Brannen.
“We were really tight so I knew it was best to go ahead and pit,” crew chief Benton said. “Our strategy was to try to make it a one stop race, but we got lucky that it
ARCA LEFTOVERS: KENTUCKYby Jeremy Troiano
Venturini Returns, Ragan Runs Out, Miller Makes It Up & More
BILLY VENTURINI MAKS HIS RETURN
Back in February, Billy Venturini was looking forward to 2005 being his biggest year in the business as a driver. He had some pretty high hopes for the season and his shot at the championship. However, things took a back seat when he was severely injured on the final lap of the first race of the season at Daytona International Speedway.
On Friday, Venturini returned to the seat of an ARCA for the first time in a race situation since the accident.
when I got hurt are still idiots. You’d figure that they’d eventually like to get a little bit of talent, but nope.
“We were horrible early. We were just getting through the thing and we got decent. We were pretty good on the long run. I think we had a legitimate shop at something between ninth and 12th or so. For as bad as we were, we would have had a decent finish. It just wasn’t meant to be though. It was a good day.”
KENTUCKY KIMMEL NOT SO GOOD THIS TIME OUT
Frank Kimmel loves Kentucky Speedway. He’s won at the track several times and is always the man to beat at the 1.5-mile track, even when Cup teams invade the track.
That was not the case on Friday though. All day long, Kimmel and his #46 Advance Auto Parts team struggled all day. He qualified a season-low 19th, nearly two seconds off the pole pace.
Billy Venturini (left) returned to ARCA this weekend at Kentucky. (51 Photo)
“That is what racing is all about. You do everything you can to keep up with everybody. We just missed it tonight. We got a fourth-place finish out of it, so we are pretty happy. That is the mark of the kind of team that we have. Wow. That was a long night though.”
MILLER COMES BACK YET AGAIN
With a smile on his face after Friday night’s race at Kentucky Speedway, rookie Joey Miller said that he’s looking forward to a race where he can run third-place all day long and, even if he doesn’t win, not have to fight from a lap down to get that finish.
That’s because on Friday night, for the second week in a row and the “umpteenth” time during his brief ARCA career, Miller had to fight from a lap down during the event to secure his eventual third-place.
Frank Kimmel (left) jokes around with his team at Kentucky. (High Sierra Photo)
In the race, Kimmel was a low as 36th at one point after coming into make an adjustment on the first caution.
However, like he and his team always does, Kimmel came roaring back and somehow turned what looked to be a horrible day into a respectable and heroic fourth-place finish.
“We missed it pretty good,” said Kimmel. “I don’t know what was going on with the car. It was never really good all day. We never really improved. We got it ok in the middle of the race and were able to catch up, but at the end, it was so loose I couldn’t drive it again. We’ll go home and take it apart and see what is up with it.
“Again, the same situation, but a different day. We bring an awesome car to the race track and we just can’t make the right calls to get us the finish that we need and to be in contention at the end.
“We just need to learn from our mistakes and we can’t make them again. We’ve got he hard part down, which sis making it be fast.”
Ragan eventually finished 17th, two laps down.
ANOTHER EVENTUFUL NIGHT FOR BELL
TJ Bell was another driver that ran out of gas under green flag conditions. However, when he ran out, he got hit from behind and spun around on the backstretch, leading to a caution that saved the rest of the cars on the track, including eventual race winner Chad Blount, who still hadn’t yet pitted.
When Bell came back out on the track, he and several other cars were hoping for a quick caution, to help him get a lap back.
He got his caution. Problem was, he was the caution.
“I would have never have guessed the race would have went so long without a caution. We didn’t come in when some of the others came it, I thought no big deal because we’ll have another caution and we’ll come in next time. Maybe people are starting to put their heads on straight.”
Bell finished 33rd.
TOUGH WEEKEND FOR VENTURINI MOTORSPORTS
In addition to Billy Venturini’s accident, Venturini Motorsports’ main car, the #25 driven by Jason Jarrett, fell out early on Friday night.
“Something happened to the motor,” said Jarrett. “The oil temperature pegged. I don’t know if it spun a bearing or what. It was a short night. It is really disappointing because I really didn’t run that well in the spring. I felt like the longer I ran, the more comfortable the car got. In the race, it proved to be that way.”
BRANNEN BACK ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Joey Miller (left) talks with Erin Crocker during pre race intoductions at Kentucky. (51 Photo)
“It was another one of those weekends that you’d rather not happen,” said Miller. “It was looking bad at one point in the race. It was looking really bad. We were running third pretty much all night long; then, things went bad when we had to come in and pit under green. We got our lap back, came back, and with about 10 laps to go, we started back about 10th and passed all of the guys up to third-place; then, we just ran out of time getting back to the front. It was just the kind of night with lots of highs and lows. Luckily, at the end, it was a high and we finished third.
“You know what I’m looking forward to, though? A race where, even if I don’t win, I can just go out and run third all day long and not go a lap down,” joked Miller.
Not many would have guessed that the ARCA race would have had such a long green flag run after Jason Jarrett blew his engine on lap 26. the next caution didn’t fall until lap 66, forcing all of the cars that didn’t pit during the Jarrett caution to come in under green, as most teams got only around 60-62 laps on a tank of fuel.
One of those that fell victim to running out of gas under the green was that of fourth-place David Ragan.
“We ran out of gas on the front straightaway,” said Ragan, who won his first career ARCA race at Lanier earlier this year. “I don’t know what went wrong. I thought we could have went at least another four or five laps. We won’t let that happen again though. W e had a strong car.
“The 67 and 98 were tough, but we had a third or fourth-place car for sure. It would have been a good run for us.
Miller started third and ran there much of the night, moving up to second for a good portion of the event. However, a long green-flag run forced Miller and several other of the top teams to have to pit under green, putting them a lap down to the leaders. Thankfully, some timely caution flags allowed Miller to get back on the lead lap and eventually back up to third before the race was over.
“The last two races have surprised me,” added Miller. “There have been some good, long green-flag runs, which you normally don’t see in this series.”
With his third-place finish, Miller moved slightly closer to the points lead. He now trails Frank Kimmel by just 170 points.
ROUSH’S O’QUINN GETTING A HANDLE ON THE BIG TRACKS
Just a week after winning a UARA Late Model Stock Car Series race at Lonesome Pine Speedway, Danny O’Quinn, one of the Roush Racing Development drivers, took his #32 Ford to the big tracks to compete in his second career ARCA Series race.
O’Quinn proved to be a fast learner of the big tracks as well as the short track, running in the top-five all day long before running out of gas during green flag conditions. He eventually finished 16th, two laps down.
“We had a good car. We had a top-five car and I think that was pretty awesome,” said O’Quinn. “Just wish we would have come in on lap 26 there. We were going to do what the leaders did. Everyone ducked down, but (Erin) Crocker was the only one that went, so I stuck out there with the rest of them and apparently, we weren’t really good on fuel mileage. It is just a little mistake. It is my fault though. They guys were telling me to come in, but I thought we should stay out and try and do what everyone else did.
“It was the wrong call, but all in all, we showed we had a fast car.
“I like the big track stuff. I’m taking to it pretty well. I think it will just be a matter of time until we will be right there to win one of these.”
RAGAN ALSO VICTIM OF RUNNING OUT OF GAS
He didn’t run like normal Billy Venturini. Venturini qualified 22nd and finished 32nd after being involved in an accident late in the race.
However, the return was a success, simply for the fact Venturini was behind the wheel.
“I felt really good,” said Venturini of his race. “I felt sharp too. I am a little tired now and I have some muscle and back spasms going on right now, but they kind of warmed me about that ahead of time. I’ll heel. I’m doing fine.
“I just got run over,” said Venturini of his accident. “What is funny is that the guys that were idiots five months ago
A multi-car accident on lap 75 started when Ken Weaver and Dawayne Bryan got together going into turn one. Bill Eversole came through and slammed into Bryan as he slid down the track. Just ahead of that accident, Kyle Krisiloff got into the back of Bell, sending him into the outside wall. Eversole eventually also made contact with Bell as the two cars came to a stop on the apron of the track.
“That is the way it is; when you want a caution, you end up being it,” said a disappointed Bell. “I don’t know what happened. I definitely got hit in the rear and got spun out unfortunately and hit. We got spun around earlier in the race when we ran out of gas. The car was awesome. We could run the high side well.
stayed green and the leaders that didn’t pit had to pit under green.”
Though the team is young and everyday is a learning experience, Brannen feels like they are consistently coming together more and more every week.
“I keep thinking about how young we are and how far we have come along,” Brannen said about the team. “We have had our issues, but now I feel like I am among family and we know how to work through those situations to make us better.”
KRISILOFF GETS TOP-10 FINISH
Kyle Krisiloff wasn’t overly happy with his seventh-place finish on Friday, but in the end, it is something that he’ll take.
“I’m kinda disappointed how we’ve run the last couple of weeks,” said Krisiloff, despite finishing second last week at Kansas. “We got into a car last week when we finished second and the guys had to fix the car on the road and it really wasn’t right all weekend long. We were a fourth-place car at best. In the race tonight, I got into another car and that obviously hurt us.
“The last stop, we didn’t make an adjustment at the end and I think we should up. overall, it was a decent run, but it wasn’t as good as it was last week.”
BOWSHER HAD SOLID NIGHT
David Ragan (High Sierra Photo)
TJ Bell (#48) gets hammered by Bill Eversole (#08) in a late-race accident at Kentucky. (High SIerra Photo)
Walt Brannen (51 Photo)
Kyle Krisiloff (#7) races outside Joey Miller (#9). High Sierra Photo)
Todd Bowsher finished 13th in Friday’s WLWT Channel 5-150 at Kentucky Speedway.
“All in all this was not a bad night for us,” said Bowsher after the race. “We were off a little from the leaders all night, but we were right with the rest of the field. We used some pit strategy in the first half of the race. If the race would have gone green like at Kansas last week we would have been O.K.”
With the finish, Bowsher moved to 7th in the series points battle.
CAREER WEEKEND FOR LEONARD
After a few tough breaks this season, Johnny Leonard and his Boca Bay Racing team wheeled to their career best finish together, collecting a very stout 11th.
In time trials, Leonard knew if he was going to stay up front and out of all the chaos he had to qualify as close to the lead pack as possible. Piloting the same Chevrolet Monte Carlo he drove in
Todd Bowsher (51 Photo)
last weekend’s event from Kansas Speedway, Leonard nailed a lap putting Johnny a career-best seventh.
A caution approaching lap 30 saw a few of the lead lap cars duck onto pit road, but under the guidance of crew chief Ted Kennedy, the team elected to stay out with the thoughts another yellow flag would wave. Unfortunately, that yellow flag never came forcing Leonard to pit under green with several of the other lead lap machines. Under pressure, the Boca Bay pit crew performed a flawless stop; the bad news was that the No. 13 had lost two laps to the leaders.
From there, Leonard drove like a veteran, hitting his marks and crossing the line, 11th; a career best finish for the Cape Coral, Florida native. Previously, Leonard’s career best was a 12th at Michigan International Speedway in 2004.
“It was a good night,” said a happy Johnny Leonard climbing from his car. “We got in a little bit of trouble when we didn’t get the caution we needed, but we were able to rebound. We’re getting better and better each week and I think its showing.
“Everyone did a good job this weekend; I have a strong feeling that the second half of the season is going to be very impressive for this Boca Bay Racing team.”