CONCORD, N.C. — Two-time ARCA Menards Series winner Gus Dean is returning to the potent Venturini Motorsports for a limited schedule this season beginning with the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway on February 18.
Dean, 28, returns to Concord, N.C.-based team after a four-race schedule which resulted in four top-five finishes highlighted with a track-best fifth-place finish at Daytona and a season-high fourth-place effort at Michigan International Speedway.
From February to August, the Bluffton, S.C., native had an average finish of 4.8.
A competitor in the ARCA Menards Series since 2016, the veteran racer returns to the “World Center of Racing” for a seventh time focused on delivering Venturini Motorsports their sixth consecutive ARCA triumph at the 2.5-mile superspeedway aboard the team’s flagship No. 25 Toyota Camry.
Dean scored his first career ARCA Menards Series victory in just his second start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in 2016 but had been cursed at Daytona over a period of five previous races until he returned to the track on the ARCA scene in 2022 where he qualified second and recovered from being collected in a mid-race incident to collect his then 14th career ARCA top-five finish.
“I am pumped up about returning to Venturini Motorsports in 2023,” said Dean. “I am looking forward to building on the success we achieved last season and I strongly believe this season we can turn our success into checkered flags and get ourselves a win or two throughout the year.”
Last month, Dean said he wheeled the best superspeedway car of his career during the annual preseason ARCA testing at the iconic race track which saw the No. 25 Toyota Camry run one of the fastest laps of the weekend and give the Kevin Reed Jr.-led team momentum leaning into the first of 20 races on the 2023 schedule.
“I can’t begin to describe how fast our Toyota Camry was during the test last month,” added Dean. “It was really fast every single run. We just made it better and better throughout the two-day test and I left the track knowing it was the best superspeedway car I have ever had. I hope we are able to build on the success and our notes during the event weekend and I can keep the Venturini Motorsports’ streak alive at Daytona and capture my third but biggest win of my ARCA career.”
Venturini Motorsports’ Billy Venturini says having a veteran like Dean back in the team’s lineup this season is important.
“I feel really positive about Gus at Daytona,” said Venturini. “He is the most experienced of all the drivers on our roster. I feel like he can bring a veteran calmness to the team. Without a doubt, he should be able to contend for the win and improve the team as a whole with his leadership.
“Looking past Daytona, it’s just great to have him back. He will contend to win races beyond Daytona with us in 2023 and we look forward at that opportunity with him in our No. 25 Toyota Camry.”
Added Dean, “the Venturini Motorsports team really welcomed me with open arms last season and they continued to make me feel like I was a member of their family. That is important to me. Billy, Mr. Bill and Mrs. Cathy (Venturini) and the entire Venturini Motorsports team believe in me and my abilities and as a race car driver there is no better feeling than that.
“I am ready for Daytona and cannot wait to get there.”
In addition to Daytona, Dean will return to ARCA competition with Venturini Motorsports at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in April, Michigan International Speedway in August and Salem (Ind.) Speedway in September.
Additional ARCA races with Venturini Motorsports could be added as the season progresses.
Dean, a fan favorite is poised to have a busy 2023 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 sixth 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 2023 ARCA season opener, as he’ll also be competing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in the highly contested World Series of Asphalt driving a Pro Late Model for DLP Motorsports.
“It means everything to us to have Gus represent DLP Motorsports,” said David “Buggy” Pletcher, owner of DLP Motorsports. “Not only is Gus a great person but he is a talented driver. It’s good to have a driver of his caliber with all the experience he has for the other younger drivers to bounce ideas and such off each other.
“We can definitely win with him down there. He has come a long way and is considered a veteran now. He will be an asset to us as a driver but also as a teammate for our other DLP Motorsports driver Gavan (Boschele). Hopefully, we have the right combination that will allow him to continue to show his abilities.”