Daytona: Billy Venturini race notes

Venturini challenges Busch and Kimmel at Daytona -- captures his second consecutive 3rd place finish at the famed track. Concord, North Carolina (2/9/2004) Billy Venturini entered Daytona's Speedweeks with one goal in mind, winning his first ...

Venturini challenges Busch and Kimmel at Daytona -- captures his second consecutive 3rd place finish at the famed track.

Concord, North Carolina (2/9/2004) Billy Venturini entered Daytona's Speedweeks with one goal in mind, winning his first career ARCA Re/Max Series race. Although it may seem like a lofty goal, Venturini refuses to be intimidated by the high banks and checkered history of Daytona International Speedway.

Starting from the 35th position (took provisional due to tech infringement after posting the 6th quickest qualifying run), Venturini showed patience and quickly raced his #25 Melling Cylinder Sleeves / JJ Baker Pontiac up into the top15. "We were really disappointed starting 35th, but like everything else, you have to except it and play with the cards you are dealt," says Billy Venturini. "We came to Daytona with a legitimate chance to grab the pole and fight for the win. If you're going to be a champion, you can't dwell on what could have been."

A caution early on and the decision by crew chief Bill Venturini to take gas only allowed the 27-year old driver to put himself in position for a charge to the front of the pack. Not long after, Venturini and Hendricks Motorsports young gun Kyle Busch hooked up and made their run, using the entire track, they drafted their way into the top5 where they would both remain for the rest of the day. Leading the bunch at that moment was 5-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel, seeking his first checkered flag at Daytona.

With 20 laps to go, Busch, Kimmel and Venturini broke free of the pack distancing themselves from the 4th place car by more than 40 car lengths. It was set to be a three-car race until Greg Sacks found the outside wall bringing out the last caution of the day on lap 10, setting up one of the most exciting finishes in Daytona, ARCA RE/MAX series history.

All bets were off as the field bunched up and prepared for a six-lap dash to the finish.

Venturini prepared for the run as Bill Sr. found his way down to Kimmel's pit to make a deal with the #46 car. If either one of the ARCA RE/MAX series veterans were planning on going to victory lane, they were going to need help from each other.

On the final lap Venturini, going for it all, pulled out of line and made a run on Kimmel. Inching his way past the #46 car on the high side for 2nd place, albeit a short-lived stay, Billy found himself alone drifting back with no help as they entered the tri-oval. "I was willing to give up the 3rd position for a shot at the win," says Venturini. "My plan was to get out and pass both lead cars, but I didn't get any help and couldn't do it on my own. I wanted the win so bad...starting in 35th I felt I had nothing to loose."

Coming down the stretch Busch and Kimmel crossed the line as Billy fought off Shane Hmiel and Ryan Hemphill to capture his second consecutive 3rd place finish at Daytona.

In front of a huge national audience, the Venturini Motorsports team prevailed with an impressive top-3 finish. "We take a lot of pride in what we do. Showcasing our program at Daytona is very important to our team. We continue to seek long-term primary sponsorship for the remainder of the season. Our racing program is top-notch and is sure to be a valuable asset to any corporation that comes aboard," says Bill Venturini Sr.

For more information on Billy Venturini and the Venturini Motorsports team, check out: www.billyventurini.com

-tav-

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Shane Hmiel , Billy Venturini , Ryan Hemphill , Greg Sacks , Kyle Busch