Daytona Beach, FL (February 15, 2015) – The highly anticipated start of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season kicked-off Saturday afternoon with the running of the Lucas Oil 200 from Daytona International Speedway.
Solidly represented, three Venturini Motorsports (VMS) drivers finished in the top-5.
Daniel Suarez driving his ARRIS sponsored Toyota led the way with an impressive runner-up finish behind race winner Grant Enfinger. Teammates Cody Coughlin in the No.55 JEGS Toyota finished fourth and Frank Kimmel in the No.25 Ansell-Menards Toyota finished fifth.
During the final laps, Suarez, who will be racing full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2015 with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), was paired up with Coughlin to challenge for the lead but couldn’t find the speed to overcome Enfinger on the final lap.
“I just didn’t have enough speed or enough help from behind on that final lap to catch him (Enfinger),” said Suarez. “It was a great way to start off the season with ARRIS and Venturini. Everybody is doing a great job. I’ll be ready for my next ARCA start for sure.”
Cody Coughlin, who started on the outside pole, led the first 8-laps and never vacated the top-10 spots during his first career start on the 2.5 mile track.
“It’s a great day. It was really cool to finish in the top-five and get all of that experience,” Coughlin said after the race. “When you go to the racetrack, all you can ask for is to be competitive and have a shot there at the end of the race, and that is what we did.”
Frank Kimmel, starting from the 11th position was dominant at times, leading 27-laps and driving back up through the field after a fueling mishap under caution on lap-36, dropped him back to 34th position.
Kimmel in his Ansell-Menards Toyota jumped to the highline picking off positions one-at-a-time before catching Enfinger, the leader, with 13-laps remaining. Racing side-by-side in the closing laps the outside line which Kimmel was racing lost momentum and started backing up to the leader. With laps ticking away Kimmel was unable to close the gap settling for a fifth place finish.
“The car was good enough and we got all the way back to the front, almost made it just couldn’t get there. Grant did a good job holding me off and Will (Kimmel) and bunch of them tried to push me by but for some reason couldn’t get all the way past him at the end, tried really hard. Hats off to Venturini Motorsports, best car I’ve ever had here by far and to come out of it with a fifth…it’s just really disappointing,” said Kimmel.
Leilani Munter driving her No.66 VMS – Energy Freedom Toyota entry was involved in the “Big One” on lap-53, settling for a disappointing 38th place finish.
“We had a great car today with a very disappointing finish,” said Munter. “I can’t thank the guys back at the shop enough for the long hours preparing my Energy Freedom car. I had a lot of fun out there, but it’s not how we wanted things to end.”
Munter, who qualified 10th in her third-career Daytona start was in the middle of drivers Bobby Gerhardt and Terry Jones when her car moved up the track going into turn 3 making contact with Gerhardt on the outside abruptly ending the race for both drivers.
Saturday’s Lucas Oil 200 presented by Auto Zone will be rebroadcast three times this week. The race will air on FOX Sports 2 at 9 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday and on FOX Sports 1 at 10 a.m. Thursday.
ABOUT VENTURINI MOTORSPORTS:
Venturini Motorsports (VMS), fielding cars for over 30-years in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, is one of the premier NASCAR driver development programs in the country. 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, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Brian Scott, Kevin Swindell, John Wes Townley, Erik Jones, and Justin Boston. Over the years the Venturini name has become synonymous with modern-day racing in America. In 2012, the Venturini family was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (www.NIASHF.org) and now find themselves enshrined with such sports icons as Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Vince Lombardi, Tommy Lasorda and Rocky Marciano.
Official: www.VenturiniMotorsports.com | Twitter: @VenturiniMotor | Facebook: Venturini Motorsports