The ARCA Racing Series is celebrating their 60th Anniversary in 2012, with Venturini Motorsports celebrating their own 30-years in the sport. They've now won 27 times in ARCA, most recently on Saturday with Kevin Swindell, who won his first career race at Chicagoland Speedway in the Ansell ActivArmr 150.
Swindell, the youngest member of the famous sprint-car clan and three-time Chili Bowl National Champion, has dabbled in the NASCAR Nationwide and Pro Series since 2008 but his part-time ride with Venturini represents a serious commitment to stock car racing.
That commitment finally paid off this past weekend.
Swindell received a gift-pole when teammate and initial pole-sitter Brennan Poole failed post-qualifying technical inspection and was sent to the back of the field. As a result, Swindell started on the point and never looked back and led every single lap.
Poole made a valiant effort to get back to the front but ultimately finished second, unable to dispose of his teammate for the lead.
Usual contenders Frank Kimmel, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed completed the top-five respectively. Buescher maintains a 45-point championship advantage over Poole, with Alex Bowman and Frank Kimmel within 100 points. A maximum of 200 points is awarded to ARCA race winners.
A full-field rundown, championship standings and a brief feature on Nelson Canache can be found after the jump.
Instead of writing about the usual contenders, I want to take a moment to recognize Nelson Canache's career-best performance. Saturday might be remembered as the day where Caracas-natived finally arrived as a stock car driver.
Canache qualified third, ran second for over half the race, and ultimately finished in seventh. This is
Canache's best showing in a stock car, besting his previous best finish of 12th, recorded earlier this month at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
This makes what Canache did on Saturday even more incredible. He held his own against ARCA's best on a type of track that has not been incredibly kind to him
Canache's career accomplishments are well-noted. He's a three-time Venezuelan National Champion, three-time runner-up, and most-recently competed in the 24 Hours of Daytona for Team APR and their signature Audi R8 Grand-Am. He finished in 44th (31st in GT) in that race alongside teammates Ian Baas, Emanuele Pirro, Jim Norman and Dion von Moltke.
I spoke with Tom Venturini, the team's marketing and PR chief at Talladega, and he said that the team expects a lot from Canache once he adjusts to the much-heavier stock cars. He used the phrase "professional race car driver" on more than one occasion, and not in the clichéd sense.
Canache lived up to that hype on Saturday, now let's see if he can match it for the rest of the season.
Thus ends the bulk of speedway races remaining on the schedule, with six of the next eight events taking place on tracks a half-mile or shorter, including the dirt track race at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. It will be interesting to see how the speedway (and championship) contenders fare once ARCA returns to its short track roots late in the summer months.
[Read More: Updated ARCA Racing Series Championship Standings]
The home stretch of the season begins next Friday in the Messina Wildlife Animal Stopper 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway (IN) at 8:00 p.m. EST. Speed will have flag-to-flag coverage.
|1||1||55||Kevin Swindell||Curb Records Toyota||100||Running|
|2||31||25||Brennan Poole||Texas Corral-Venturini Motorsports Toyota||100||Running|
|3||8||44||Frank Kimmel||Ansell-Menards Toyota||100||Running|
|4||10||17||Chris Buescher||Reliance Tool-Roulo Brothers Racing Ford||100||Running|
|5||4||15||Ryan Reed||JDRF Ford||100||Running|
|6||5||58||Chad Hackenbracht||CGH Motorsports Chevrolet||100||Running|
|7||3||35||Nelson Canache||Venezuela Tourism Toyota||100||Running|
|8||7||22||Alex Bowman||St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Dodge||100||Running|
|9||11||53||Tim Andrews||Van Dyke Recycling Solutions Dodge||100||Running|
|10||9||68||Will Kimmel||AccucareTX-Joliet Tilted Kilt Ford||99||Running|
|11||17||99||Brandon Davis||Roulo Brothers Racing Ford||99||Running|
|12||13||45||David Levine||Richard Petty Driving Experience Dodge||99||Running|
|13||12||12||Jared Marks||Premium Energy VIP-SRT Motorsport-UNOH Dodge||99||Running|
|14||15||95||Michael Leavine||WRL General Contractors Ford||99||Running|
|15||14||09||Robert Bujdoso||Checkered Express Ford||99||Running|
|16||2||16||Matt Lofton||Strutmasters.com Chevrolet||98||Running|
|17||20||5||Bobby Gerhart||Lucas Oil Chevrolet||96||Running|
|18||18||94||Milka Duno||Corazon Venezolano Toyota||96||Running|
|19||19||88||Buster Graham||Batter's Dream Ford||95||Running|
|20||16||02||Josh Williams||Southwest Florida Cable Construction Ford||95||Running|
|21||22||04||Larry Barford Jr||First Mariner Bank-Trauma Doc Dodge||93||Running|
|22||26||48||James Hylton||Radon.com Ford||91||Running|
|23||25||83||Mike Affarano||Affarano Racing Chevrolet||90||Running|
|24||32||66||Mark Thompson||Phoenix Air Toyota||66||Suspension|
|25||24||06||Tommy O'Leary||Wayne Peterson Racing Ford||51||Running|
|26||6||23||Spencer Gallagher||Allegiant Air Chevrolet||44||Engine|
|27||28||0||Brad Smith||Wayne Peterson Racing Ford||18||Handling|
|28||27||34||Darrell Basham||Darrell Basham Racing Chevrolet||14||Transmission|
|29||23||10||Richard Harriman||Fast Track Driving School Ford||10||Brakes|
|30||30||3||Tim Turner||Hixson Construction Chevrolet||5||Handling|
|31||29||79||Mike Koch||K&K Racing-Karl's Plumbing Chevrolet||5||Suspnsn|
|32||21||69||Korbin Forrister||Tilted Kilt Ford||4||Vibration|
|33||34||40||Roger Carter||Carter 2 Motorsports Dodge||2||Handling|
|34||33||32||Brad Riethmeyer||Win-Tron Racing Chevrolet||2||Vibration|