The ARCA Racing Series is all about developing young drivers so that way they can move up to higher divisions in the future. Venturini Motorsports is known for a well developed Driver Development program that has seen NASCAR stars Joey Logano and Steve Arpin progress through it.
In their 30th season in ARCA competition, it doesn’t look like that is slowing down as they captured two top 10 finishes at Mobile International Speedway last week.
16-year-old Clint King earned the CGS Hard Charger Award after qualifying 20th and finishing in fifth.
“Our Mobile run was really solid considering our deep starting spot,” King says. “We rode patiently and stayed out of trouble. We stuck to our strategy all day and conserved our last set of tires right up until we needed to. It was a solid run to start the season off and definitely has me excited for Salem next month.”
In just four starts with Venturini, the driver of the No. 66 Design Warehouse Chevrolet has two top fives and three top 10s. king is also known for qualifying well as last season, he won back-to-back poles with Venturini.
20-year-old Brennan Poole drove his No. 25 Adcetera-Country Music Artist Jaclyn North Toyota to finish seventh.
“I have always liked the number seven. I used to be the number seven when I raced late models. But I now I’ve qualified seventh and finish seventh in the two ARCA race this year. I don’t like it that much,” Poole comments. “I would have liked to have a better finish, but we are looking really good in the point standings and the championship is our main focus.”
The finish moves him up to second in points, 15 points behind leader Cale Gale.
“Mobile started off tough without getting a full practice session in due to the engine change. But we were still able to qualify seventh which gave us great hopes in the race for our No. 25 Adcetera-Country Music Artist Jaclyn North Toyota,” Poole says. “The day had a lot of high points and we ended up with a strong 7th place finish. It was good day because all the Venturini guys pulled together and fought to get that top-10 finish.”
18-year-old Ryan Reed continued to learn as he finished 12th after a spin late in the race. He currently sits sixth in points, 55 points behind Gale.
“Seemed like we had a good strategy and with 30 to go, we had new tires,” he says. “We were working our way to top 10, passing someone for 11th or 12th and had a really good car, and got spun out. “Seemed like we had a good strategy and with 30 to go, we had new tires,” he says. “We were working our way to top 10, passing someone for 11th or 12th and had a really good car, and got spun out. That kind of ruined our day. We were able to battle our way back up to 12th, but that didn’t show our effort from the whole day and the whole weekend. We qualified fifth and felt like we had one of the cars to beat.”
Nelson Canache made his first ever professional short track start, finished 22nd after being spun out in turn four while running in the top 15. The spin put the Venezuelan native behind the eight ball after having to make repairs to the car put him a few laps down.
“We had a really good car, I think we would’ve finished in the top-10 but unfortunately that lap car made contact with me as I was trying to pass him early in the race,” Canache says. “Well, I guess that’s why short track racing is so exciting! I gained a lot of valuable experience and I’m looking forward to the next race at Salem.”
15-year-old Erik Jones looked strong early as he qualified third and led 14 laps in his ARCA start.
“Practice day got off to a slow start with the rain delay but it all worked out for the best,” Jones says. “The team worked really hard getting the car adjusted to what I needed and it really showed in qualifying. For my first ARCA race I was happy with starting third.”
He would finish 29th, though, after having the No. 66 Paragon Racing, suffered a clutch malfunction.
“I had so much fun being up front,” Jones says. “It wasn’t how we wanted things to go but I will be going into Salem more comfortable and confident in an ARCA car. I can’t thank Billy (Venturini, Crew Chief) and my crew enough for all their hard work this weekend.”
By starting the race, Jones became the youngest start in ARCA history. Before this season, ARCA required drivers to be 16 years or older to compete. However, an announcement in the off-season allowed drivers under 16 to compete on short tracks if they were properly certified and approved.
The next race on the ARCA schedule is the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway on April 29th. King, Poole, Reed, Canache and Jones will be looking for the same success that Venturini Motorsports had last year as Poole won the race in his ARCA debut.