Venturini Motorsports signs Zane Smith for 2017 season

Venturini Motorsports signs Zane Smith for 2017 season

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov.  18, 2016) - Venturini Motorsports (VMS) announced today the addition of 17-year-old Zane Smith to the team's driver roster for the 2017 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season.

Smith, from Huntington Beach, Calif., has signed on to drive the No. 55 Venturini Motorsports Toyota Camry in 18 of 20 Series events beginning with the second race of the season at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in early April. Due to ARCA age restrictions, Smith will not participate at Daytona Int’l Speedway or Talladega Superspeedway as both tracks require drivers to meet the minimum age of 18.

“Joining Venturini Motorsports and having the opportunity to race in the ARCA series is definitely one of the biggest highlights of my career,” said Smith. “The last couple of seasons I’ve bounced around series to series running a bunch of different super late model races. It’s going to be awesome to concentrate my efforts primarily in one series with one team. I’m pumped...this Venturini team is as good as they get in ARCA. As a racer it doesn’t get much more exciting than to look ahead at our schedule knowing I’ll be racing at some of the best tracks in the country.”

Noah Gragson candidTaking the reins in Smith’s two-race absence will be 18-year-old rookie Noah Gragson. Gragson, who recently signed with Kyle Busch Motorsports for a full season effort in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, will drive VMS’s No. 55 in the ARCA season opener at Daytona (Feb. 18) and at Talladega (May 5).

Gragson is also slated to drive the No. 15 VMS Toyota at Pocono Raceway (July 28) and Chicagoland Speedway (Sept. 14).

Sponsorship announcements for both Smith and Gragson will come at a later date.

Running for SCOTT Rookie of the Year honors, Smith will come under the guidance of crew chief Billy Venturini. Venturini steered the 55 team to second place in national championship standings in 2016, the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge championship and SCOTT Rookie of the Year honors With Dalton Sargeant driving.

“I’m really excited to have Zane and Noah as part of our program for 2017,” said team owner and crew chief Billy Venturini. “I have high expectations for Noah to start the season out strong at Daytona for the 55 team before handing the reins off to Zane. Zane has already displayed an incredible amount of speed in the ARCA car and is a proven winner. I couldn’t be more excited working with such a talented young man for this coming season. I think having both Smith and Gragson teamed up this year will give us a great chance to compete for the owner’s championship.”

Smith’s 2017 schedule includes; Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (April 8), Salem Speedway (April 30), Toledo Speedway (May 21), Elko Speedway (June 3), Pocono Raceway (June 9) Michigan Int’l Speedway (June 16), Madison Int’l Speedway (June 23), Iowa Speedway (July 8), Lucas Oil Raceway (July 21), Pocono Raceway (July 28), Winchester Speedway (August 6), Illinois State Fairgrounds (August 20), Road America (August 27), DuQuoin State Fairgrounds (September 4), Salem Speedway (September 9), Chicagoland Speedway (September 14), Kentucky Speedway (September 22), and Kansas Speedway (October 20).

Smith made his ARCA debut with VMS in 2016 at Salem and Kentucky Speedways. Smith gained national recognition in 2015, winning the overall Super Late Model championship at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway. During his breakout season the teen recorded three PASS South Wins and a CARS Super Late Model Tour win. Capping off a successful ’15 season, Smith finished second at the prestigious Snowball Derby, runner up to this year’s current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leading Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott.

VMS, known for their success in developing young drivers in the ARCA Series, has recorded 43 team victories during their longstanding series involvement. Thirty of those series victories have come since 2008.

Otis B Driftwood

good for this kid!