(CONCORD, N.C. - July 23, 2012) - The storyline for Saturday’s Ansell ActivArmr® 150 race at Chicagoland Speedway couldn’t have been scripted any better than it was for Kevin Swindell or his team, Venturini Motorsports.
Driving his No.55 CURB Records Toyota, Swindell dominated the race leading all 100-laps of the event capping off an incredible celebratory weekend for the Venturini Motorsports team.
Swindell, the son of Sprint Car racing icon Sammy Swindell, earned his second career Pole position and his first ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards victory of his young career. At 23-years old, Swindell is no stranger to the spotlight as he’s gained national recognition as a three-time and defending champion at the famed Chili Bowl Midget Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Swindell earned the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell when Venturini Motorsports teammate Brennan Poole's would-be pole lap in the morning was disallowed for an inspection infraction. The Tennessee driver stayed out front for all 100 laps at Chicagoland Speedway and cruised to a 1.238-second victory over Poole, who drove from the back of the field to challenge for the win.
"The car was excellent," said Swindell. "I was able to get out in front and keep clean air and try not to make any mistakes in traffic, and everything went well. I didn't have any trouble with the pit stops, and the Curb Records car was great. Everything was good, and I can't thank Venturini Motorsports and my crew chief Keith Hinkein enough for one heck of a car."
Swindell's win was his first in 11 career ARCA starts, and came in his sixth race for Venturini. No driver has led every lap in an ARCA event since Ryan Hemphill completed the feat in a rain-shortened 67-lap race on July 9, 2004.
The Venturini sweep of the top two positions capped off the team's grand celebration of 30 years in ARCA competition and their forthcoming induction into the National Italian Sports Hall of Fame. The team selected Chicagoland Speedway as the site of its commemoration because of the track's proximity to Chicago, the Venturini family's home city and racing origin.
Swindell's and Poole's cars, as well as those of Mark Thompson and Nelson Canache, carried throwback paint schemes from the team's championship years and other top moments.
After his leading qualifying lap of 30.64 seconds (176.24 mph), Swindell (No. 55 Curb Records Toyota) jumped to a 0.616-second lead on the first lap and pushed that lead to two seconds by Lap 15, easily outdistancing his closest competitors. Poole (No. 25 Texas Corral Toyota), meanwhile, had improved to 15th by Lap 5, when Korbin Forrister spun off of Turn 2 to bring out the race's first caution. He improved one position after the Lap 9 green flag and found himself in the top 10 by Lap 16.
From there, Swindell started to flex his muscle. He led by more than three seconds at Lap 20 and five seconds three laps later, when second-place Matt Lofton got caught behind the car of Buster Graham. That allowed Canache (No. 35 Venezuela Tourism Toyota) to pass from fourth to second and let Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota) move around him.
Swindell advanced his lead to more than six seconds at Lap 27. At the same time, Poole passed teammate Ryan Reed (No. 15 JDRF Ford) to move into fifth place. Swindell drove around Mark Thompson to leave just 16 cars on the lead lap at Lap 34, while Poole had moved into fourth, 9.181 seconds back.
Spencer Gallagher experienced mechanical issues while running seventh on Lap 45 to bring out the race's second caution flag. Swindell saw his nine-second lead disappear with a trip to pit road, but his sizable advantage easily allowed him to exit first with fuel and four fresh tires. Kimmel improved to second off of pit road, with Canache, Chris Buescher (No. 17 Reliance Tool/BeavEx Ford), and Poole following.
Swindell led again at the Lap 51 green flag, but his progress was slowed when Thompson slid into the grass just two laps later and the caution flag flew again.
He got away clean at the Lap 56 restart and climbed to a three-second lead within 10 laps. Poole was making his own advances, passing Canache for third on Lap 63 and Kimmel for second six laps later. Swindell led Poole by 3.84 seconds at Lap 70, but Poole sliced that gap by more than a second within five laps. With 25 to go, Poole seemed to be making a charge.
Swindell kept the advantage, though. By Lap 80, he continued to lead by 2.62 seconds, the margin fluctuating as the two leaders weaved in and out of lapped cars.
Poole closed the gap to 1.202 second with 10 laps left; only the 10th-place car of Will Kimmel (No. 68 AccucareTX/Joliet Tilted Kilt Ford) - one lap down - sat between him and Swindell. In the end, Swindell was too much, and he finished having led every lap for his first win.
In addition to Swindell’s victory and Brennan Poole’s second place finish, Venturini drivers, Ryan Reed finished a career best fifth and Nelson Canache claimed a seventh place finish. In All, Venturini Motorsports placed four cars in the top-7 positions.
The race lasted just one hour, three minutes, and 47 seconds, finishing with an average speed of 141.103 mph to shatter the 2009 race record of 111.02 mph. The three caution flags slowed the field for just 11 laps.
For Bill Venturini, seeing one of his cars win the Ansell ActivArmr® 150 at Chicagoland Speedway was a welcome bonus after a week of hometown celebration.
Not only did the Windy City-born Venturini Motorsports team commemorate 30 years in ARCA with a flurry of guests at its home track, but "Big Bill" and wife Cathy also celebrated 39 years of marriage on Saturday. Even before Kevin Swindell led all 100 laps for his first ARCA triumph, Bill Venturini seemed to be on cloud nine.
"It was a special week, being honored here at the speedway on Thursday night," Venturini said. "They had me and my wife, my family, the Ultra Blue Crew as guests of honor here. It's our home track and I had 200 friend and family members here, so it was a lot of fun."
Indeed, members of the 1987 Ultra Blue Crew - an all-female pit crew that helped Venturini to his first driving title in ARCA - visited the current team at the Ansell ActivArmr® 150, 25 years later.
In most organizations, things change over 30 years. Between Bill Venturini's first win on June 18, 1983 and son Billy's first driving victory in 2006, only "Big Bill" drove to Victory Lane for the team. Now, the Venturinis enter a handful of contenders at each race, and Swindell is the 10th driver to win for the program. The team now counts 27 wins in three decades.
Amid changes over that time, one constant continues to drive Venturini at the race track.
"Winning," he said. "Last weekend, I had five cars at Iowa and we wrecked five cars. We were at an all-time low last week, and I come here this week and I have four in the top seven, we win, and lead 100 laps. It's an adrenaline fix. We enjoy the racing, and enjoy the people.
"I'm proud to say we do what we do, and I'm really happy with what we've got in our program."
Venturini Motorsports will return to the track this week when the ARCA Series visits Indianapolis Friday Night for the running of the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway. The race will be televised live on SPEED TV at 9pm EST.
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 team's 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.
Official: www.VenturiniMotorsports.com | Twitter @VenturiniMotor | Facebook: Venturini Motorsports