Category: 2022 News

Gus Dean Returns to ARCA Menards Series with Venturini Motorsports

DAYTONA BEACH, Fl (January 14,2022): Two-time ARCA Menards Series winner Gus Dean (@gusdean) is returning to the ARCA Menards Series in 2022 and will join the potent Venturini Motorsports in a minimum three-race deal beginning with the season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Feb. 19, 2022.

A competitor in the ARCA Menards Series since 2016, the Bluffton, S.C.-native returns to the “World Center of Racing” for a sixth time focused on delivering Venturini Motorsports their fifth consecutive ARCA triumph at the 2.5-mile superspeedway aboard the No. 55 Toyota Camry.

Dean scored his first career ARCA Menards Series victory in just his second start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in 2016 but has been cursed at Daytona over a period of five previous races and is hopeful that the opportunity to “Fly the V” will prove to be the cure and deliver his third career ARCA victory.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to join Venturini Motorsports at Daytona,” said Dean. “Ever since I’ve been competing at ARCA, Venturini Motorsports has proven to be a dominant fixture in the series, especially on the superspeedways.

“To have the chance to pilot one of their Toyota Camrys, work closely with their dedicated and experienced crew and be surrounded by great teammates is sure to bring all the emotions of when I first joined the ARCA Menards Series. I’m just thankful to be a part of the team’s superspeedway lineup this season and look forward to putting myself in contention for the victory.”

Venturini Motorsports’ Billy Venturini has been wanting to add Dean to his driver roster for years and is thankful that the opportunity presented itself for the 2022 season.

“It’s great to have Gus with us,” said Venturini. “We’ve been racing with him as a competitor for years and it’s great to finally have him under our banner this year. With his experience and Venturini Motorsports success at superspeedways, we believe we have a wonderful chance at getting to Victory Lane!”

Added Dean, “While we have been fierce competitors on the track, I have always had the utmost respect for Billy, Mr. Bill Venturini and the entire Venturini Motorsports team. Not having the chance right now to race in a premier series on a weekly basis, I have to make the most of any opportunity and being a part of Venturini Motorsports provides me a shot to not only have fun, but hopefully that opportunity to experience the bliss and emotions of celebrating in Victory Lane again.”

In addition to Daytona, Dean will return to ARCA competition with Venturini Motorsports at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in April and at Michigan International Speedway in August.
The 27-year-old South Carolinian is poised to have a busy 2022 season between ARCA, Late Models, Mud Truck Racing and a hopeful sporadic appearance or two in one of NASCAR’s National Series.

“With no championship on the line for me this season, it’s about having fun,” sounded Dean. “Whether that’s competing with Venturini Motorsports in ARCA, DLP Motorsports in Late Model competition or the other racing endeavors we have planned for this season. Of course, the urge to still compete full-time is there, but it takes marketing partners and a lot of financial commitment to make it happen.

“Until we can hopefully put ourselves back into that position again, we’ll take the path that has been laid out before me and make the most of it. Venturini Motorsports is going for an unprecedented fifth straight ARCA victory at Daytona and I want to be that driver that gets it done for them!”

Before Dean buckles in at Daytona, he will have a busy week leading up to the 2022 ARCA season opener, as he’ll also be competing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in the highly contested World Series of Asphalt driving for DLP Motorsports.

Dean will kick off his new tenure with Venturini Motorsports by competing in the open ARCA Menards Series test at Daytona on January 14 – 15, 2022.

A sponsorship lineup for the Feb. 19 Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire for Dean will be announced later.

For more on Gus Dean, please visit GusDean.com, like him on Facebook (Gus Dean Racing) and follow him on Twitter (@GusDean).

First Arab American Female Driver in NASCAR, Toni Breidinger, to Full Time in 2022 with Toyota Racing Development, Venturini Motorsports

January 13, 2022 (Concord, NC) – Toyota Racing Development’s Venturini Motorsports (VMS) announced today the selection of 22-year-old female athlete, Toni Breidinger, as the full-time driver for the No.25 Toyota Camry for NASCAR’s upcoming 2022 ARCA Menards Series season.

Possessing the talent and dynamic personality needed on and off the racetrack, Breidinger’s racing career has been trending upward leading to her first full-season opportunity in the ARCA Menards Series. Setting her sights on reaching the highest ranks of NASCAR, Breidinger’s tireless efforts are sharply focused on honing her skills both behind the wheel and mentally for this next stage in her career.

“This is a proud moment not only for me but also my family. I’m incredibly excited for the opportunity to run my first full season in NASCAR’s ARCA with Venturini Motorsports and Toyota,” said the first Arab American female driver to compete in NASCAR.

“I’ve worked a lifetime to get to this point in my career. It’s taken a lot of hard work and support from countless people. Racing is a business. It takes more than just desire. I truly cannot thank my supporters and business partners enough for believing and providing the support to get me to this stage. There’s still a lot of work ahead but I’m ready to get this season started at Daytona.”

Ready to embark on her highly anticipated 2022 racing campaign next month on racing’s brightest stage, Daytona International Speedway, Breidinger carries support from Hairclub, and Pit Viper Sunglasses.

Breidinger became the first Arab American female driver in NASCAR in 2021 with her Daytona debut. With 12-career starts in ARCA’s premier touring series, Breidinger has earned three top-10 finishes in limited action. Breidinger also carries the notable label as the first minority driver to achieve this level without going through NASCAR’s diversity program.

Moving up through the ranks in motorsports, she grabbed attention early on competing in the United States Automobile Club (USAC), with 19 victories. Transitioning in her late teens from open wheel midgets to stock cars, Breidinger’s relentless efforts are paying dividends.

Serving as Toyota Racing Development’s (TRD) official driver development program, VMS possesses a rich tradition of winning in the ARCA Menards Series with over 75 wins and two national championships. Also best known for their success preparing tomorrow’s future NASCAR stars for the spotlight at the highest level of the sport.

Breidinger and VMS will begin their quest at Daytona International Speedway in the series’ season opener Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire on Saturday, February 19. The race will air live on FS1 and Fox Sports App beginning at 1:30pm EST.

Follow Toni Breidinger on all her social media channels on Instagram @tonibreidinger, on Twitter @ToniBreidinger, on TikTok @tonibreidinger, and Facebook @ToniBreidingerRacing.

Six-Time ARCA Tour Winner Tom Hessert Returns After 4-Year Series Hiatus

January 12, 2022 (Concord, NC) – Long-time ARCA Menards Series veteran driver, Tom Hessert, will make his long-anticipated return to the seat with Venturini Motorsports for three short track events in 2022. Earning the reputation as a tenacious short track competitor, Hessert returns with a tailor made schedule at Berlin Raceway, Elko Speedway and Lucas Oil Raceway.

A mainstay fixture and respected personality on tour with the ARCA Menards Series from 2007 to 2018, Hessert has compiled 186 career series starts. Finishing a career best, runner-up, in ARCA’s 2016 National Championship points standings, the second-generation driver from Cherry Hill, NJ has turned nearly 25,000 laps and accomplished 6 series wins, 55 top-5 finishes and 111 top-10 finishes.

With a lifetime of racing seemingly in his rear-view mirror, Hessert left the track in 2018 to resume his day-to-day life raising his four young children with his wife while running day-to-day operations for his family’s north Philadelphia auto dealership.

“So yeah, It’s been a minute since I was in the seat,” said Hessert laughingly when asked about coming back to the track after four years. “Our last full season was 2016 and after that we ran a couple of partial seasons. Since then, my focus has been on being a dad and growing my family with my amazing wife Meghan.”

“This whole idea kinda just came together back in September when I was talking with Billy (Venturini) about Lucas Oil being back on the ARCA schedule and how I’d love to go back one more time. Indianapolis is one of my favorite places. And after we made the decision to run, we started looking further up the schedule and found a few more races we thought would help knock off the rust,” added Hessert.

“I definitely miss the racing and being competitive, but getting back to the track and seeing everyone in the garage is going to be special. As far as the racing, there are some unknowns after being away for so long, I just know were gonna make the most of it and have some fun.”

Hessert has made 18 starts combined throughout his career at Berlin, Elko and Lucas Oil tallying 9 top-5’s and 17 top-10 finishes. By the numbers, Hessert padded his career stats racing short tracks which account for 64% of both his career top-5 (35) and top-10 (71) totals. All but one of his victories came via the bullring, with his only non-short track event win at Talladega Superspeedway in 2014.

Tom Hessert will make his return to the track in the ARCA Menards Series at Berlin Raceway on June 18. The race will air LIVE on MAVTV beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Follow Hessert on social media on Twitter @TomHessert, and Facebook @tom.hessert.3.

Parker Chase Back with Venturini Motorsports for 10 ARCA Events in 2022

Concord, NC (January 10, 2022) – Venturini Motorsports (VMS) announced today the resigning of 20-year American sports car driver, Parker Chase, to a ten-race deal for the upcoming ARCA race season. Chase, the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge Champion will continue his stock car development after a successful debut with Toyota Racing Development’s (TRD) VMS in the ARCA Menards Series in 2021.

Coming out of the Lone Star state, Chase will pilot the No.15 Toyota Camry for nine events in the series’ premier division; the ARCA Menards Series along with a sole effort in the ARCA West Series. Beginning with the ARCA Menards Series season opener at the famed Daytona International Speedway on February 19, Chase will test his skills on a mix of short tracks, road courses and superspeedways including Phoenix, Talladega, Charlotte, Mid-Ohio, Pocono, Watkins-Glen, Kansas and Bristol.

“I’m excited more and more as the season approaches. I grew up watching NASCAR races at places like Daytona, Talladega and Pocono, and now I’ve got my chance to compete on those same tracks,” said Chase. “I can honestly say throughout all my years of racing this season is going to be one of the most exciting years yet. There’s still a lot for me to learn as I continue to work in the TRD driver development program and I feel we made a lot of progress last year running a handful of ARCA races and they really prepared us for this year’s schedule.”

After back-to-back years finishing in the top-10 at the World Center of Racing in the Rolex 24 and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Chase was asked about his upcoming stock car debut at Daytona.

“Daytona is a special place, it’s legendary, it’s every race car driver’s dream track. There are so many drivers who’ll never have the chance to experience the beauty of the track and running the high-banks at top speed. I’m thankful for the support and opportunity TRD and VMS have given me to compete in 2022 at Daytona. The ARCA race at Daytona is going to be special beyond words and I know Kevin Reed will have us a great car for the race. Competing in the 24 hours of Daytona and now with the chance to run the oval, it’s honestly a bucket list dream I’ll soon check off.”

Making his ARCA Menards Series debut with VMS in 2021, Chase impressed behind the wheel of his stock car scoring a fourth-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway before grabbing three consecutive top-10 finishes at Winchester, Bristol and Kansas.

Setting his sights on being the next successful sports car driver to transition to stock cars in NASCAR’s top series, Chase is dedicated to honing his all-around craft. Beginning in stock cars with a limited schedule in late models at the famed Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, NC he then joined Toyota Racing’s Kyle Busch Motorsports in the #51 Vertical Bridge Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the Daytona Road Course and Circuit of the Americas events in 2021.

Parker Chase will make his ARCA Menards Series season debut in the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway on February 19. The premier series event will air live on FS1 beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. Follow Chase on social media on Instagram @ParkerChase, Twitter @parker_chase19 and Facebook @parkerchase19.

Landon Pembelton Joins TRD’s Venturini Motorsports ARCA Program in 2022

January 6, 2022 (Concord, NC) – Venturini Motorsports (VMS) announced today the signing of 16-year old Landon Pembelton. Pembelton, who made headlines in 2021 after winning the Nation’s Premier Late Model Race at Martinsville Speedway, will compete in four ARCA races under the team’s Toyota Racing Development banner in 2022.

The Amelia County, Virginia born driver will pilot VMS’s Toyota Camry in the ARCA Menards Series at Elko Speedway, Milwaukee Mile and Toledo Speedway, as well as the Fall Phoenix event in the ARCA West Series.

“I am grateful for the opportunity with Venturini Motorsports and will make the most of the time. I am given to learn as much as I can,” said Pembelton. “Toyota and Venturini Motorsports are both proven winners in ARCA and I am excited for the challenge. I’m ready to rely on their leadership and knowledge to give me the best opportunity to succeed. I’ve got high expectations for myself. With the good equipment underneath me and knowing what I’m capable of, there’s no reason we can’t start off running top five.”

With some karting experience under his belt, yet relatively unknown within the racing community, the young Virginia driver’s interest in organized racing started in 2019. During his first year in the Limited Sportsman Division at South Boston Speedway he ran 8 races, capturing 6 top 5 finishes. The following year he won the Championship in the Virginia Racers Challenge Series which was a collaboration between Dominion Raceway and Langley Speedway.

In November of 2020, Landon participated in a non-winners race for the late model division at Dominion Speedway, he managed to capture the checkered flag in his first attempt piloting a late model stock car. Just two and a half years into the sport, he took the checkered flag in a NASCAR sanctioned points race at South Boston Speedway on August 7, 2021.

Now a high school junior, Pembelton was named the Virginia State Division I and the South East Division I Rookie of the year in 2021 and also ranked 10th in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series National Division I Standings.

Landon Pembelton will make his first career ARCA Menards Series start in the Elko 250 at Elko Speedway on June 25. The race will be aired live on MAVTV at 9 p.m. CST.

Follow Landon on social media @Lbpem0 on Twitter and @landonpembelton0 on Facebook.

Fifteen-Year-Old Conner Jones Takes Next Step with Venturini Motorsports

January 5, 2022 (Concord, NC) – Venturini Motorsports (VMS) announced today the signing of 15-year old Fredericksburg, Virginia driver, Conner Jones to a three-race schedule in 2022.

Jones, who comes to the team with the mindset of gaining experience while furthering his young career at the next level will compete in the ARCA Menards Series events at Iowa Speedway (6/11) and Salem Speedway (10/1). The high school Sophomore will also team with VMS at Dover for the ARCA Menards East race in April.

VMS, with a rich tradition of winning in the ARCA Menards Series, is well-known for their success nurturing young talented drivers with goals of reaching the highest levels of the sport. Notable past VMS 15-year old driver signings include NASCAR Cup driver Erik Jones, NASCAR driver and 2019 ARCA Menards Series Champion Christian Eckes, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Justin Haley, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Chandler Smith and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver and youngest ARCA winner in history Todd Gilliland.

“It’s exciting to take the next step in ARCA with a team like Venturini Motorsports,” said Jones. “They’ve been one of the most dominant teams in ARCA for a long time. It gives me added confidence knowing I’m surrounded by a lot of successful people and racing really good equipment. I’m looking at this as an opportunity to learn as much as I can for the future. I’ll be really happy if I can go out and run top five, top ten each week.”

Starting off in the seat of a go-kart, Jones has made the early progression through the ranks learning his trade behind the wheel of Bandoleros, Legends and Late Models. Furthering his development over the last two years, Jones was successful running a healthy dose of late model event in the East at Caraway, Dominion, Hickory & South Boston speedways.

In 2021, he started the season winning two Super Pro Late Model events at New Smyrna at the World Series of Asphalt before taking on a full season in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour. His 2022 plans also include a second straight year in the CARS tour.

Follow Conner on social media @ConnerJones88 on Twitter, @ConnerJones6 on Instagram and Conner Jones Racing on Facebook.

Jonathan Shafer Joins Venturini Motorsports’ Driver Development Program for Five ARCA Events in 2022

January 4, 2022 (Concord, NC) – Venturini Motorsports (VMS) announced today the signing of 16-year old driver, Jonathan Shafer to a limited five-race ARCA schedule in 2022. Ready to embark on the next step of his career, Shafer will get his first taste at the next level when he joins VMS at Iowa, Lucas Oil, Bristol and Salem in the ARCA Menards Series, along with the springtime Dover race in the ARCA East Series.

“This is such a great moment in my career. A lot of hard work has gotten me to this point,” said Shafer, the Ashland, Ohio native when asked about taking the next step in his racing career.

“I can’t thank Venturini Motorsports and Toyota enough for giving me this opportunity. I’m excited to have this chance and continue to develop as a driver. Knowing I’ll be running great equipment with a team as good as Venturini Motorsports gives me a lot of confidence going into my first start at Iowa.”

Following the typical path nowadays, Shafer began driving quarter midgets at the age of five and has methodically moved his way up the speed ranks with age. With nearly 300 feature wins along the way, the high school junior has concentrated on a heavy dose of midget racing and late models in recent years. Along with running with Toyota’s Keith Kunz Motorsports he has spent the last three seasons in the JEGS CRA Series and CARS Tour.

“I’ve gained a lot of great experience with Keith (Kunz) and his midget program along with Lee Pulliam in the CARS Tour. The last couple of years racing late models have been an important stepping stone to get me where I am today. I’m focused on continuing to get better and go out this year and do the best I can.”

Shafer will make his debut with Venturini Motorsports at Dover Int’l Speedway on April 29, 2022 in the ARCA East event. He will make his ARCA Menards Series driving debut behind the wheel of VMS’ No.15 Toyota Camry at Iowa Speedway on June 11, 2022. The race will be aired live on MAVTV.

Follow Jonathan Shafer by visiting @JShaferRacing on Twitter, @JonathanShaferRacing on Instagram and @ JonathanShaferRacing on Facebook

TRD’s Jesse Love and Corey Heim Back with Venturini Motorsports to Co-Pilot Team’s No.20 Toyota Camry for Upcoming 2022 ARCA Menards Series Season

January 3, 2022 (Concord, NC) – Venturini Motorsports (VMS) announced today the return of a formidable pair of Toyota Racing Development drivers, Jesse Love and Corey Heim, who’ve been selected to co-pilot the team’s No.20 Toyota Camry for the upcoming 2022 ARCA Menard Series season.

Sharing the wheel for a championship bid, 17-year old Jesse Love will handle the lion’s share with fourteen races in command of VMS’s No.20. Love, with back-to-back ARCA Menards Series West Championships (2020 & 2021), will handle the driving duties in 14 of the 20 ARCA Menards race schedule; Phoenix, Iowa, Berlin, Elko, Mid-Ohio, Pocono, Lucas Oil, Watkins-Glen, Springfield, Milwaukee, DuQuoin, Bristol, Salem and Toledo. In addition, Love will also drive for Venturini Motorsports at Dover (ARCA East) and Phoenix (ARCA West).

Dominating the ARCA West Series over the last two years, Love, from Menlo Park, California, has strung together 14-career starts in ARCA’s premier series since 2020. Competing in a limited schedule with VMS in 2021, the West Coast teenager found victory lane in his final start of the season at Salem Speedway, marking his first career ARCA Menards Series win.

“This is a great opportunity and very exciting time in my life,” said Love. “I’ve been really fortunate to have a lot of great support over the years and it continues this year again with Toyota and Venturini Motorsports.

Last year we made some huge gains at the end of the season but I’m still learning and making the transition to the ARCA Menards Series. I feel like I’m in a great position working with crew chief Shannon Rursch and getting to lean on Corey and my spotter for more help. Winning at Salem last year was a huge confidence booster – we will build off that momentum and hopefully start the 2022 season the same way we finished last year, with a win.”

Corey Heim will take the reins for six races beginning with Daytona, Talladega, Kansas (Spring), Charlotte, Michigan and Kansas (Fall). Heim, who drove full-time for VMS in 2021, was runner-up in the series’ championship point standings, tallying six victories over twenty races.

“I’m excited to be back with Venturini Motorsports,” said Heim. “We won a lot of races last season and had a great year overall. Although the goal of winning remains the same, I’m looking forward to taking on more of a leadership role with some of the other young drivers on the team. Sharing the twenty-car with Jesse (Love) is going to be a lot of fun.”

Heim, hailing from the driver rich state of Georgia, has made 36 ARCA starts since 2019. Over the last three seasons he’s tallied 7 wins, including last year’s season opener at Daytona, 26 top-5 and 35 top-10 finishes. In addition to his 2022 ARCA efforts, Heim will also compete in the Camping World Truck Series with Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Shannon Rursch will resume his duties as crew chief for the young drivers and look to continue his success with the team in 2022.

Venturini Motorsports will begin their quest for an ARCA Menards Series Championship beginning at Daytona International Speedway in the series’ season opener Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire on Saturday, February 19. The race will air live on FS1 and Fox Sports App at 1:30pm EST.