(CONCORD, N.C. - July 15, 2012) - Friday night’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Prairie Meadows 200 at Iowa Speedway started off on a high note for Venturini Motorsports, with series points leader Brennan Poole earning his third career Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell while teammates Ryan Reed and Erik Jones turned in solid qualifying efforts, locking down the third and sixth spots, respectively, on the starting grid.
With three team cars starting in the top-6 positions the mood inside the Venturini garage was filled with optimism.
But by the conclusion of the 200-lap Iowa event the team’s spirits drastically changed fittingly comparing to the chilling feelings evoked while watching Steven King’s 1984 horror-flick, “Children of the Corn”. However, with many silver screen classics to draw comparisons from afterwards, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” probably seem the most appropriate to best describe the overall results for Venturini Motorsports.
After leading the first 74-laps of the race, Brennan Poole, driving his No.25 The AD Man / Mudd Advertising Chevrolet suffered a devastating blow when his right front tire blew out driving him into the outside wall, crippling his car and taking him out of contention.
Poole’s tire woes at Iowa are strangely similar to the situation last month at Michigan International Speedway when he jumped out early leading the first 59-laps of that event before his right side tires failed him forcing him into the pits for an unscheduled stop. Although he gave up the lead and any chances of claiming his fourth series victory, Poole was able to salvage an 11th place finish and the series points lead.
His misfortunes at Iowa would not be as forgiving.
The damage sustained to the suspension and right side of Poole’s car Friday night came at a much higher price for the 21-year old rookie driver. Even with the support of a spirited pit crew determined to return him to the track the incident proved too much for him to overcome, finishing a season-low 28th place.
Poole’s stroke of bad luck impacted more than just his Iowa race results, his season-low 28th place finish drops him to second position in the ARCA series championship point standings – 45 points behind fellow Texan, Chris Buescher. With nine events remaining in the ARCA season Poole’s misfortunes have done little to discourage his pre-season championship goal.
More unfortunate drama unfolded late in the race on lap 189 of 200 when 16-year old Venturini driver Erik Jones was robbed of what appeared to be his third top-5 finish (6th ARCA start) of his young career when the No.23 car driven by Spencer Gallagher drove down and made contact with his No.55 Paragon Corvette Reproductions Chevrolet on the back-stretch while the two drivers raced hard with the edge going to Jones.
The unnecessary contact not only turned Jones around knocking him out of his secured position but the incident also marred what was sure to be another impressive outing by the highly touted Jones.
Jones, who was suffering from flu-like symptoms the entire afternoon battled illness qualified 6th for the Prairie Meadows 200 and kept his car among the leaders all night long – securely within the top-5 spots.
Even with the on-track incident Jones continued to impress onlookers with his talent - credited with an 11th place finish.
Jones a native of Byron, Michigan became the youngest competitor in ARCA Racing history earlier this year at Mobile International Speedway at the age of 15. Jones will be back behind the wheel of his Paragon Corvette Reproductions backed car on July 27th when the series returns to Lucas Oil Raceway outside of Indianapolis, Indiana.
One of the bright spots this weekend for Venturini Motorsports was the performance turned in by 18-year old driver Ryan Reed from Bakersfield, California who qualified 3rd and earned his second top-10 of the season with a ninth place finish driving his No.15 RaceHard.com / Ryan’s Mission car.
Reed’s 9th place finish Friday night matched Venturini Motorsport’s best individual driver effort at Iowa Speedway since 2006 when Billy Venturini drove the family owned No.25 with the same results.
Reed, who was absent from the ARCA road course event in New Jersey returned to his car with seemingly a re-energized sense of determination to showcase his ability in front of the enthusiastic Hawkeye crowd.
As he does every day on and off the track Reed took advantage of his celebrity status to continue to share his story and spread awareness to help cure, treat and prevent diabetes through his own cause, Ryan’s Mission, a non-profit organization to help build awareness, become a role model, and positively touch the lives of so many that already have been affected by the disease.
Reed was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2011 and is one of three professional motorsports drivers in the country competing with the disease.
As if three Venturini cars suffering damage wasn’t enough yet another dark shadow was casted under the lights Friday night when rookie Venezuelan driver, Nelson Canache, crashed hard into the wall on lap-133 while trying to avoid a car spinning in front of his blue and white Venezuela Tourism Chevrolet.
Canache, who is a two-time Venezuelan road course champion, is in the midst of his rookie season and making the transition to stock-car racing was credited with a 30th place finish.
During Friday’s Speed TV broadcast of the Prairie Meadows 200 event at Iowa Speedway Canache was spot-lighted as the ARCA Team Messina rookie driver of the race.
Next up for Venturini Motorsports will be the return to Chicagoland Speedway and their 30th ARCA Anniversary celebration on home turf Saturday, July 21st.
About Venturini Motorsports
Venturini Motorsports (VMS), fielding cars in the ARCA Racing Series, is one of the premier NASCAR driver development programs in the country. The 2012 season marks the teams 30th Anniversary of competition in the ARCA Series. 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, Steve Arpin, Brian Scott, Max Gresham, Miguel Paludo, Josh Richards, Ryan Blaney, and Scott Lagasse, Jr.