ARCA Triple Header Coming to Toledo Speedway
After the superspeedway dust settles from Kentucky Speedway this weekend, the ARCA RE/MAX Series will turn its attention to Toledo Speedway short-track action Sunday afternoon, May 17 for the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care, the 65th appearance of the hometown touring series at Toledo since 1963.
The event is spread out over a three-day weekend that will also feature the season-opening K-100 for the ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series Saturday afternoon to accompany ARCA RE/MAX Series qualifying and practice. Action on the renowned half-mile paved oval initially blasts off Friday night with the Buckeye Sprints headliner plus the ARCA-sanctioned Sportsman division, Figure-8s and Factory Stocks.
In addition, the 5th annual All Sport ARCA Fan Fest will accompany all three days of racing on the Speedway property. The All Sport ARCA Fan Fest has been designed as a family and fan friendly motorsports promotion allowing ARCA fans and their families to interact with ARCA officials, drivers, teams, crews, and sponsors at ARCA's hometown track. The Fan Fest, which will take place in the parking lot area directly in front of the Speedway, will offer free admission to the public. Fans will be required to purchase tickets to enter the speedway for the racing action.
NASCAR veterans' Ken Schrader and Paul Menard have already filed entries for the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care. Schrader, a four-time Toledo winner, hasn't won at Toledo since May of 2006. The Fenton, Missouri driver will make his 54th career series start since his ARCA debut at Daytona in 1981. Schrader has 15 career ARCA wins overall.
Menard, who drives the Schrock-Menards Yates Racing Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, made five career ARCA starts in 2003 and 2004, winning at Talladega in '03. Menard is entered in the Johns Manville-Menards Ford for the Toledo event.
David Ragan is also scheduled to make the trip into Toledo for Sunday's show. The Roush Racing driver of the UPS Ford in the Sprint Cup Series, is coming in support of driver Chris Buescher, who is entered in Ragan's Roulo Brothers-prepared DavidRagan.com Ford. Ragan will not be driving this year, but he will be signing autographs during the on-track ARCA autograph session starting at 12 noon. Ragan, in 31 career ARCA starts, won once at Lanier, Georgia in 2005.
Other entrants include 9-time series champion and 9-time Toledo winner Frank Kimmel, entered in the Ansell-Menards Ford, and Penske Racing development driver Parker Kligerman. Kligerman, the 18-year-old rookie from Westport, Connecticut, is leading the championship points headed into the event this Saturday at Kentucky Speedway.
Eddie Sharp Racing has entered four teams: Justin Lofton (Westmorland, CA), Tim George, Jr. (New York, NY), Craig Goess (Greenville, NC) and Steve Arpin (Fort Frances, Ontario). All but Lofton are rookies on the tour. All four drivers are currently in the top-10 points.
ARCA RE/MAX Series practice is scheduled from 12:30 to 2:00 PM Saturday, May 16 with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 3:30. The ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series K-100 is scheduled to start at 5:00 Saturday afternoon. Pre-race ceremonies for the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care begin at 1:15 Sunday, May 17 followed by the 200-lap race at 2:15.
Toledo Speedway is located at 5639 Benore Rd., Toledo OH, near the intersection of I-75 and Alexis Road. For more information, please call ARCA at (734) 847-6726, or Toledo Speedway at (419) 727-1100.
5 Races, 5 Different Drivers for Venturini Motorsports; Next-Up
19-Year-Old Jesse Smith for Kentucky Speedway ARCA Classic
Five races, five different drivers; that's the deal for Venturini Motorsports, which will utilized its fifth different driver in as many events this year when this Saturday's Drive Smart Buckle-Up Kentucky 150 rolls off on the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway.
Their next pick - 19-year-old Wildwood, Missouri driver Jesse Smith, who will make his first ARCA RE/MAX Series start of the season in the Venturini Motorsports-prepared no. 25 Chevrolet.
"We had been talking with them (Venturini Motorsports)," said Smith. "They're a great team obviously; this is a great opportunity to run good."
And so far, so good. Smith/Venturini Motorsports were quickest in the ARCA RE/MAX Series open test at Kentucky Speedway last week. But that's nothing new. The Venturini team has been unofficially quickest at all the ARCA open tests this year.
"You never know where you're going to be when you test, but everything clicked; there was good chemistry and we were fast," continued Smith. "I knew we'd be good based on their history, but I didn't know how good. I feel like we got the car pretty close. It's not exact because the track's going to change, so we built-in for lots of adjustments. No matter which way the track goes, from an adjustability-standpoint, we can get there."
History certainly reveals that the Venturini Motorsports team can definitely get there. Team owners Bill and Cathy Venturini are two-time series champions. And, it certainly hasn't been very long since the team's gone to victory lane; in fact it happened in mid-April at Rockingham Speedway where Sean Caisse steered the 25 car to the winner's circle.
They team opened their season with Joey Logano's second place finish at Daytona. Brett Hudson finished 9th in the car at Salem before Caisse won at Rockingham. Mark Thompson was up front all day in the car at Talladega before the engine expired late in the race bumping Venturini Motorsports from the lead in car owner points to fourth.
"The goal is the car owner championship; but we're still trying to put some pieces together to run all the races," said Bill Venturini. "Winning the championship is more feasible because we've been able to handpick our drivers. That said, everywhere we go, we feel we have a shot to win. We've had the fastest car in the tests everywhere. Jesse's very talented. We're very excited about our chances this weekend."
In nine career ARCA RE/MAX Series starts since 2007, mostly in Dodges fielded by Jones Group Racing, Smith's has had some very impressive runs - most notably a career-best third place finish at Kansas Speedway in 2008. Smith also finished fifth at Iowa Speedway '08, fifth at Chicagoland Speedway '08, eighth at Michigan Int'l Speedway '08 and 11th at Kentucky Speedway '08. Kentucky is also where Smith tied his career-best qualifying run of third.
"I've already raced at Kentucky Speedway, so I know what to expect," added Smith. "I've got some experience under my belt now. I know I'll have one of the best teams out there supporting me at Kentucky. I've matured as a driver - feel like I'm more capable; and I feel like I've learned from my mistakes. I definitely think we have an opportunity to win there.
"The key will be getting the right breaks. We're going to be fast, so it will be all about having luck go your way, keep the car clean, be patient, stay up front and stay up on the wheel. It'll probably be a one-stop race so most of the success we'll have will be on the track. I'm not putting a lot of pressure on myself. Everyone knows how good this team is - and it's as good as it gets. I'll just give it my best."
Smith will have marketing/sponsor support from his longtime partners - Hormel Food, Spam, Lloyd's Barbeque and Childs Tire, all of whom helped support the Wallace racing family throughout their careers.
"Hormel, Spam, Lloyd's BBQ and Childs Tire have been supporting my racing career since I was five - going back to my quarter midget days. My dad originally helped Rusty (Wallace) in his late model days, and we've been friends of the family ever since. Mike (Wallace) had Hormel on his car in the 90s. He's been a big supporter of mine. I can call him up anytime for advice. And I raced against Steven and Chrissy (Wallace) in Legends and Bandoleros."
The Drive Smart Buckle-Up Kentucky 150, the 18th appearance of the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Kentucky since its 2000 debut, is scheduled to roll off at 8:00 PM ET Saturday, May 9. Practice and Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell precede the race action Saturday afternoon. The event will feature live timing and scoring at ARCAracing.com as well as live streaming video and audio of all the on-track activity.
Fans "Back Home" Still Recall Tim Richmond's Exploits
Tim Richmond was a friendly guy and a good race car driver even when starting out on a career path that would take him to great heights in open-wheel and stock car racing.
Many of those pit-side friends and fans from the 1970s are planning to attend the inaugural Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA RE/MAX 200 at Mansfield Motorsports Park on June 20. Richmond passed away from complications of AIDS 20 years ago this August.
After making his first attempts at oval track racing in 1976 in a dirt Sprint Car at Lakeville (Ohio) Speedway, Richmond and his father, Al, purchased a Supermodified. The highly specialized open-wheel cars were a weekly division at Sandusky (Ohio) Speedway, a 1/2 mile paved oval configured similarly to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The Roadster was originally built by Todd Gibson of Richwood, Ohio, a champion owner/driver/builder. Gibson built the best equipment of its day.
Richmond was an average Joe in the pits, however. "Tim was a clean race car driver, gentlemanly" said Rob Natole, 50, of Sandusky. Natole was an assistant pit steward fresh out of high school at the Sandusky track in 1977. "If you were racing with him, he'd give an inch and sometimes take two. He'd go for it," Natole continued. "He never whined. He had a lot going for him. Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold.
"The biggest thing I remember is how he got to the race track. He flew to Sandusky from Ashland in his dad's helicopter and landed on the infield," Natole continued. "He was flamboyant even then, but he was personable and he'd take time to talk with you. He was an outgoing person. From the time he started winning races at Sandusky, I followed his career. A lot of us did."
Soon after Richmond burst onto the IndyCar scene with his 1980 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year performance, the driver came "home" to Sandusky Speedway where he was feted. The Sandusky City Commission proclaimed "Tim Richmond Day," and the driver had a full day of activities culminating by an evening with his fans at the speedway. With his popularity soaring, Sandusky Speedway's promoter at the time, Larry Boos, said Richmond had no "airs" about him.
"Tim was, simply put, a good old boy. He loved people and he loved being around people," Boos said. "He was very appreciative that the City of Sandusky remembered his accomplishments as track champion. He welcomed his return to Sandusky with open arms, and greeted everyone with that signature Tim Richmond grin."
Natole was at the track that night, as well as the night the news broke that Richmond had passed away on August 13, 1989. "When he died, it was announced at the speedway, and people were crushed," Natole said. "We were very proud of 'our' driver." Natole still displays his Tim Richmond memorabilia. The model cars and autographs that were collected as a friend and fan have remained as a tribute in his home over the past two decades. "Tim was one of us and he never forgot where he came from." Natole said.
Wolverine Power Systems to sponsor ARCA event at
Berlin; Lee Greenwood to perform in pre-race festivities
Berlin Raceway owner Mike Blackmer and Wolverine Power Systems are proud to announce that Wolverine will sponsor the ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Berlin Raceway. The July 25th 200 lap event is race number 13 on the ARCA national campaign.
"Wolverine Power Systems is proud to be involved in such a great event within our community. This is a chance to take the family out and enjoy and support an event that involves so many local drivers and businesses" said Glenn Emmert, president of Wolverine.
WolverineAs the Industrial Distributor of Generac Power Systems, Inc., WPS is a single source provider to the industrial, commercial and institutional markets throughout the entire State of Michigan including the Upper Peninsula. Wolverine also offers rental generators, perfect for any type of job.
The Wolverine Power Systems 200 will take the green flag at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night July 25. Stars from across the country will invade the .438 mile speed plant, uniquely known for not having a back straightaway retaining wall.
"We are excited to have Wolverine Power Systems back onboard with a huge Berlin event in 2009. This is their first time to sponsor the ARCA race here, but we feel that it will be a great match for everyone involved!" stated Mike Blackmer.
2008 saw a battle between two drivers who are now competing fulltime in NASCAR, including winner Scott Speed in his Red Bull Racing Toyota. Speed edged NASCAR Nationwide rookie Justin Allgaier, and series legend Frank Kimmel. Since debuting in 1958, winners have included Iggy Katona, Kimmel, Bob Keselowski, Bob Senneker, Fred Campbell, Ramo Stott, Brian Keselowski and Tim Steele to name a few.
Country music legend, singer-songwriter Lee Greenwood will join ARCA pre-race festivities! Greenwood, who was born in South Gate California, climbed the country charts in 1984 with the release of the hit 'God Bless the USA'. 1985 saw Lee win two Male Vocalist of the Year awards from the Country Music Association. Shortly after the September 11 attacks on America, Greenwood re-released his hit which climbed its way back into the Top 20 on the country charts. Greenwoods solo performance will take place just prior to race action for the Wolverine Power Systems 200.
Tickets are on sale now, for the 22nd visit from the ARCA RE/MAX Series, by calling 616-677-5000 or online at www.berlinraceway.com. Tickets are $20.00 if purchased in advance, and $25-day-of-race. Kids 6-12 only $5.00, and 5-under free. For more event information log onto www.berlinraceway.com.