ARCA Town: News From Around the ARCA World
Looking Ahead to Rockingham and Mansfield...and More
Compiled From ARCA Series, Track and Team Reports
Venturini Motorsports Signs Crum for ARCA Team

Things are looking bright for the 2008 UARA-Stars Champion. In preparation for the UARA's first race of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway, 17 year old Jake Crum announced signing a letter of intent with Venturini Motorsports as a developmental driver in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to join Billy Venturini and everyone else at Venturini Motorsports,” said Crum. “The Venturini's have been around the sport and the series for a long time. I know their experience makes them a strong team and I am looking forward to being able to race for them.”

Crum will be joining the likes of Joey Logano, Sean Cassie and Alex Yontz in the Venturini shop, poised for an ARCA schedule later this year pending sponsorship. 

“We were very pleased with Jake's performance at Bristol,” said team owner Billy Venturini. “He is an extremely talented young driver and we are looking forward to having him on board as part of our driver development program.”

Crum qualified 4th on Thursday but when the race started on Saturday night it did not take him long to takeover 2nd place. Crum ran there for most of the night. With 31 laps to go Crum made a play on leader Matt McCall and was able to pull ahead. His lead was short-lived when the front right tire blew several laps later. This sent Crum to the outside wall where he sustained substantial amounts of damage to the front right side of his car, ending his night early with a 20th place finish.

ARCA Returns to Rockingham Speedway; Thunderfest Kicks Off Fun

The ARCA RE/MAX Series will soon be headed back to Rockingham Speedway for the second annual Carolina ARCA RE/MAX 200 Sunday afternoon, April 19.

The event also marks the return of Thunderfest, an all-day ARCA extravaganza/festival Friday, April 17 to officially kick off the event.

Thunderfest, open to the public from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, features an early afternoon hauler parade through the streets of Rockingham, live music in the town square accompanied by ARCA RE/MAX Series driver autograph sessions, a variety of vendors and 11 hours of continual live broadcasting over the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) at arcaracing.com.

The ARCA Racing Network, via arcaracing.com, will also feature live streaming audio to include practice, qualifying and flag-to-flag race coverage in addition to live Timing and Scoring, all at arcaracing.com.

Entrants for the Carolina ARCA RE/MAX 200 already include nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series national champion Frank Kimmel as well as veterans' Patrick Donahue, Ken Weaver, Tom Hessert, Alli Owens, Norm Benning and Bryan Silas. The entry list is also well stocked with well-financed rookies including Joey Coulter, Steve Arpin, Craig Goess, Tim George, Jr. and Robb Brent to name a few.

In last year's inaugural race, Joe Gibbs Racing's Joey Logano, in an all-out dominating performance, steered the Venturini Motorsports-prepared no. 25 Chevrolet to victory lane from the pole.

The ARCA RE/MAX Series initially raced at Rockingham Speedway on June 10, 1973 during which time Charlie Glotzbach won the 300-mile event from the pole.

ARCA RE/MAX Series on-track activities start Saturday, April 18 with practice from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM followed by Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell at 2:30. Driver introductions go off Sunday afternoon raceday at 12:30 PM followed by the start of the Carolina ARCA RE/MAX 200 shortly after 1:00. The race is also live on SPEED at 1:00 PM Eastern.

The UARA-STARS Late Model Series is also on the race card with a 70-lap race Saturday.

For more information about the Carolina ARCA RE/MAX 200 or to order tickets, please contact the speedway at (910) 205-8800 or visit the website at www.rockinghamspeedway.com.

Rockingham Speedway Through the Years......

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was the main attraction at Rockingham with 78 events up through 2004. Curtis Turner won the inaugural race at Rockingham on October 31st, 1965. The final event was held on February 22nd, 2004 during which Matt Kenseth held off a last-lap charge from Kasey Kahne by .010 seconds, recording one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history. Other winners at the "Rock" over the years include Fred Lorenzen, Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin to name a few.

A joint venture between Darlington Raceway builder Harold Brasington and landowner Bill Land, North Carolina Speedway's first race was held in 1965. Over time, the track came under control of L.G. DeWitt, a local trucking company executive who, in 1969, supervised reshaping the original flat mile track into the present, high-banked one-mile oval.

Patrick Sheltra Cleared To Return To Competition

ARCA RE/MAX Series (ARS) driver Patrick Sheltra has been medically cleared to return to racing competition just in time for the ARCA RE/MAX Series to pick up with their second race of the season, the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 by Federated Car Care at Salem Speedway next Sunday, April 5.

Sheltra, 22 was involved in a nasty accident in the closing laps of the series’ season opener at Daytona International Speedway last month where Sheltra suffered a compression fracture of his fourth vertebrae and a dislocated kneecap.

Sheltra’s determination and vigorous healing instructions have allowed the Indiantown, Florida native a speedy and successful recovery allowing him to return as the driver of the No. 60 Ferguson Pipe-ThePeoplesCars.com Dodge Charger.

“I’m ready to get back after it,” said Sheltra, who sits 14th in ARCA RE/MAX Series driver points marching into Salem. “I’m feeling real good and I feel more determined than ever to show that this incident hasn’t sidetracked my focus to winning races and trying to win the championship. Our team is stronger than ever and we’re ready to show that on the track!”

“I cannot continue to be appreciative and thankful for everyone’s support during the recovery process. The outpouring of emails, mail, phone calls and text messages were overwhelming and it showed me that there were a lot of people that cared about the accident and I was extremely humbled by that. I’m just thankful to be able to race again,” sounded Sheltra, nicknamed “Mr. Showtime.”

As for next weekend, Sheltra has four starts at the demanding Salem Speedway with a best finish of 11th, three times including two-in-a-row. Feeling energized, Sheltra is ready to acquire his first top-10 finish and hopefully a win at the Southern Indiana track.

“I would love to win at Salem,” noted Sheltra. “It’s a place that you can have a banged up car but if you can master the luck and have a good setup, you can take home the trophy. We’re going to win this year but what a Cinderella story it would be to pull it off pull it off next weekend.”

In addition to running a full ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule this year, Sheltra will also run a limited dirt schedule and also plans to run selected NASCAR Nationwide Series events with his Whitesville, Kentucky based Sheltra Motorsports team.

Count Down to the June 20th Inaugural Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA-RE/MAX 200

Tim Richmond was blessed with gifts that made him destined for greatness, both on and off the race track.  With the support of a loving family, father - Al, mother - Evelyn and sister - Sondra, it was not long before that greatness was revealed.

He demonstrated he had star quality from an early age.  He was a star athlete at his high school, Miami Military Academy.  He set a conference record in high hurdles and was such an outstanding football player that his high school retired his jersey and named him Athlete of the Year in 1970.

He had a competitive streak that drove him to challenge himself when he wasn't in some type of competition with others, that included learning to fly at 16.  He was also born with good looks and grew into a handsome young man.  He could do just about anything he put his mind to without fail, and often without formal training.  He exuded the attitude of success and confidence, and yet, for all his talent and charisma, he could be humble.

The life and times of Richmond, who would have turned 54 on June 7, will be celebrated with a major stock car race near his hometown on June 20th.  The inaugural Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA RE/MAX 200 will be presented at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park.  The track is in the heart of "Tim Richmond Country," less than 15 miles from his one-time Ashland, Ohio hometown.  Richmond passed away due to complications from AIDS on August 13, 1989, nearly 20 years ago.

Richmond came from a successful family in Ashland.  His father, Al, built a company that manufactured boring machines used for buried pipeline installation and coal mining.  Mr. Richmond designed and built the machines himself, and became a highly successful businessman.  That success allowed him to dote on the only son he and wife, Evelyn, had.

As a youth, Richmond had an interest in things that went fast starting with go-karts, as a boy and graduated to cars and airplanes as a teen.  His parents gave him a Pontiac Trans Am for his 16th birthday.  Surely an occasional street race or zipping up and down nearby Interstate 71 wasn't enough to satisfy his need for speed and performance.  Still, it wasn't until age 22 when he got into his first real race car owned by a friend in 1976.  He first drove a dirt Sprint car at Lakeville, Ohio.  He showed some talent that season, but he wrecked several times, too.

The next season, his dad purchased a Supermodified, a unique pavement open-wheel race car featured at few tracks.  One track in Ohio ran them on a weekly basis, Sandusky Speedway on Ohio's "north coast" near Lake Erie.  Richmond went on to be the division's champion and rookie of the year.

In 1978, Richmond switched to USAC Sprint Cars and won a Mini-Indy Series event at Phoenix which grabbed the attention of IndyCar owners.  Richmond made his first IndyCar start at Michigan in 1979 but finished last due to a blown engine.  But his path had taken him into the major leagues of open-wheel racing.

In 1980, Richmond entered his first Indianapolis 500, and in a story book finish, Richmond finished ninth despite running out of fuel in the final laps.  Johnny Rutherford won the race and had Richmond jump on the side-pod his car for a ride back to the pits as he was completing his victory lap.  Both drivers were elated, and Indianapolis' sophisticated IndyCar crowd vocally celebrated both drivers' accomplishments.

A series of wrecks in the following races didn't discourage Tim, but his parents agreed they would be happy if he stopped racing altogether.

But his Indy performance had impressed many people, including Joe Mattioli, III, son of Pocono Raceway's owners Drs. Rose and Joe Mattioli.  It was the younger Mattioli who brokered the deal that brought Richmond to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing.




Jake Crum has some ARCA races in his future.
Tim's fans keep his memory alive with a 2005 sign dedication at Evergreens Restaurant in Ashland, OH, one of his favorites.  Left to Right..Judy Mack, Terry Mack, Amy Snodgrass, Sandy Richmond Welsh (Tim's sister), Linda Garman, Harley Garn, Jerry Garman, Chuck Grissinger and Todd Welsh.   Linda & Jerry Garman are the owners of the Evergreens.  (ARCA Photo)
Patrick Sheltra  (Sheltra Motorsports Photo)