(TOLEDO, Ohio - July 11, 2012) - Venturini Motorsports tested five cars Tuesday at Lucas Oil Raceway. The team also extended the test to well into the evening to maximize their long trek from Concord, N.C.
With the season halfway in, Brennan Poole, driver of the No. 25 Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet, is the championship points leader.
"We didn't get out of there (Lucas Oil Raceway) till after 11 (p.m.)," Poole said.
"We decided to do some runs at night so we'd have a better idea of what will happen under the lights. We need a good game plan for when we come back."
Yes, Poole will definitely need a good game plan for sure, especially considering his point lead is nearly next to nothing - 10 points to be exact. In the ARCA world, that's a matter of two positions on the track.
Roush Fenway Racing development driver Chris Buescher, driver of the No. 17 Roulo Brothers Racing Ford, is second in points hot on the heels of Poole. In Buescher's last three outings, he won at Michigan International Speedway, and finished third at Winchester Speedway and at the New Jersey Motorsports Park road course, besting Poole's performances at each track.
"Since the points are so close, we're taking it one race at a time," said Poole (right). "One lap at a time. Anything can happen in racing, and that's what makes this sport so great. It's what makes things exciting for everyone, fans and competitors alike. We control what we can and let the other things play out. We can't worry about it too much; it'll throw us off if we do."
In an effort to stay on top their game, Poole, along with his Venturini Motorsports teammates Kevin Swindell, Erik Jones, Ryan Reed, and Nelson Canache, spent the better part of the afternoon testing in the hot sun before they tested under the lights, which is closer to the truth considering the green flag is scheduled to drop just past 9 p.m. Eastern.
"We learned that when we ran laps during the day, when it was really hot, there wasn't a lot of grip; we started to lose the nose. But once it cooled down, we gained the grip back through the center of the corners. Our goal was to make sure we'll have the right set-up for when it's cool and dark."
A victory at Lucas Oil Raceway would not only help Poole pad his point lead, it would mean much more to the Texas rookie.
"It was my first time on the track, but I feel like I grew up here. I used to come and sit in the grandstands to watch the Silver Crown cars and the Midgets. It's a special place for me. And to win in Indy, well, it doesn't get much bigger, especially during Brickyard 400 week.
"I'm so glad I got the chance to test yesterday. This track has its own challenges. You have to be really patient with the throttle; you roll so much through the center of the corner you can get yourself into a bad push off the corner if you're not getting through the center right.
"But I absolutely love the track. I like these types of tracks where you have to move up the track through the corners to find the groove. There's a lot of room to race; I'm really excited to come back. I think we've built a really good game plan. Venturini Motorsports is the best team out there. It gives you the confidence you need to get the job done."
Jones, who also tested Tuesday, is trying to become the youngest driver to ever win an ARCA race. The 16-year-old Bryon, Mich. driver made history this year when he became, at 15, the youngest driver to ever start an ARCA race at Mobile International Speedway in early March.
Unlike his teammate Poole, Jones, despite his age, has actually raced once at Lucas Oil Raceway.
"I actually ran a late model there last year in the JEGS CRA tour," Jones said. "It was a different style of car, but you run the same line, so it's always helpful when you've run somewhere before."
Jones is already knocking on history's door as a potential race winner, what would be the youngest winner in ARCA Racing Series history, all 60 years of it. He finished eighth at Elko, Minn., fifth at Salem Speedway, and third most recently at Winchester. The victory lane threat could be moving from possibility to probability.
"Well, I've always won in everything else I've raced before, so why not here? I don't know all of ARCA's history but I know there have been many, many great winners and champions over the years. It would be an honor to be the youngest winner. It would be really, really special to me to be a part of ARCA's history in that way."
The ARCA CRA Super Series will lead off the July 27 on-track activities with practice at 12:45 p.m. The ARCA Racing Series follows with practice at 1:35, followed by final practices for each division. ARCA CRA Super Series qualifying is at 4:30 with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell for the ARCA Racing Series at 5:30. The ARCA CRA Super Series' 100-lap race will kick off the racing activity at 7, followed by the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 finale under the lights at 9.