2019 a Season to Remember for Venturini Motorsports

2019 a Season to Remember for Venturini Motorsports

It’s been a year to remember for Venturini Motorsports.

Three quarters of the way through the year, and the team’s three full-time teams lead nearly every statistical category there is. Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) leads the driver’s championship standings, Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) is currently second in the driver’s points and leads the Bounty Rookie of the Year standings. Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota) leads the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge standings, and despite running in only nine of the 15 races to this point, he leads the series in wins, laps led, and General Tire Pole awards. Team owner Billy Venturini leads the series owner’s points standings and is on top of the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge standings as well.

Venturini Motorsports has combined for ten wins in 15 races, thirteen of 15 General Tire Pole Awards, and 1,411 laps led. That’s 67% of the race victories, 86% of the pole awards, and 79.1% of all laps run in the lead.

Impressive to say the least.

While it’s been a dominating season to this point, it hasn’t always been that way for the team owned by Bill and Cathy Venturini and now led by their son Billy and his wife Emily.

After a successful career on the Chicagoland short tracks, Big Bill made the jump into what was then called the ARCA Talladega Super Car Series in 1983, winning a pair of races and the rookie of the year award. By 1987, he and Cathy – who served as crew chief and led the famous “all girl pit crew” – had won their first series championship and followed it again with their second in 1991. By 1994, young Billy was behind the wheel and by the mid 1990s, Big Bill has ceded the seat and moved to team ownership and television analyst roles. Bill retired after a single start in 1996 with 12 wins and a nearly 66% top-ten finish rate.

While still involved in the ARCA Menards Series, the Venturini team didn’t compete often. Sometimes it would only be one or two races a year. That changed in 2001, when the team returned with Billy behind the wheel in 15 races. Full seasons were on tap from 2002 through 2005, but the season opener in 2005 was one of the most devastating days in the team’s history.

Billy was involved in a multi-car crash on the backstretch late in the race. His car stopped, and then was hit by another car still moving at a high rate of speed. The impact left the younger Venturini with a broken neck, an injury eerily similar to what his father endured in a crash at Michigan International Speedway in 1989. Jason Jarrett stepped in as a substitute and performed admirably, and once Billy recovered he was back behind the wheel and another full season was set for 2006.

But then funding dried up. Single-race deals were put together and the team was able to stay afloat. And a change in philosophy after the 2007 season put the team on a much different track.

Billy stepped out of the car, and he moved to the top of the pit box. Rather than trying to win races as a driver, which he did once at Salem, he decided his talents and skill would be much better utilized as a crew chief and by developing the skills of young drivers looking to make their first steps into a career as a full-time professional racecar driver.

Since Billy made the transition from driver to crew chief and mentor, Venturini Motorsports has collected 46 wins. The team has at least one win in every season since 2008. Those wins have been collected by 22 different drivers, and in two different seasons, 2014 and 2018, the team collected trophies with four different drivers. The team has also earned a pair of Bounty Rookie of the Year awards over that time frame, first with Justin Boston in 2013 and then again with Dalton Sargeant in 2016.

Some seasons were lean, though, with just one win, such as 2017 when the team went to victory lane just once, at Chicagoland with Christopher Bell at the wheel.

It's those thin seasons that make a year like 2019 one to remember.

 

Comments
Darin A.

I have to admit, Venturini Motorsports is indeed impressive especially for the 2019 season. Curious to see how well they'll do in the final five races of the season.

RobbyG83

They are the super team of ARCA.... if they win the race each week...they deserve the win... just like everybody else does...

Allen S.

In fairness how many teams are there to SERIOUSLY challenge them? It’s basically a JGR versus front row Motorsports type of comparison. They SHOULD be this dominant really. 

Shannon Rursch

Joe Gibbs Racing, Chad Bryant Racing, Brett Holmes Racing, GMS, KBR.....