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Venturini Motorsports’ Drivers Delivers Another Solid Effort at Nashville

April 9, 2018
Venturini Motorsports’ Drivers Delivers Another Solid Effort at Nashville

 

Concord, North Carolina (April 9, 2018) – The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards returned to the track this past weekend for the running of the Music City 200 at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.

Despite unseasonably cold temperatures, it was business as usual for Venturini Motorsports which returned to racing action turning in a solid overall team performance.

Michael Self and Chandler Smith, both leading laps, finished in the top-5 taking the checkered flag fourth and fifth respectively. Christian Eckes finished eighth and Natalie Decker rounded out the team effort in 11th place.

Daytona winner Michael Self, driving the No.55 Sinclair Oil Toyota, led seven laps but came up a few spots short of winning his third consecutive ARCA race. Self’s fourth place finish kept the Utah born driver atop of the series points standings.

"It's a fun place to race; that’s for sure," said Self. "You really have to adapt a lot. This place changes all night. Overall, a really good night. Although short lived, I’m especially proud coming out of the race maintaining the points lead. Unfortunately, the way my schedule lines up this year I won’t be running the full schedule. It sure would be nice to take this momentum to Salem but it just wasn’t in the cards this year. We’ll continue to race for trophies; I’ll be back again at Talladega at the end of the month.”

15-year old Chandler Smith, the latest teenage sensation to jump onto the scene, came out of the gate strong in his ARCA debut earning General Tire’s Pole Award and finishing fifth for the Toyota aligned Venturini Motorsports.

Smith, a standout late model driver, set a new track record (18.768 seconds / 114.332 mph) with his ARCA qualifying effort and led the first 51-laps behind the wheel of his No.20 Smith General Contracting Camry. Relinquishing his lead during the first round of pit stops, Smith stayed in contention never straying outside the top-8 cars before finishing with a solid top-5.

“It was a great night and huge learning experience,” said Smith. “As a driver I’m disappointed I couldn’t finish it off but winning the pole and finishing fifth in my first ARCA start is something I’m really proud of and can build on for the future. I can’t thank Toyota and Venturini Motorsports enough for giving me the opportunity and the chance to make my first start here on my home track.”

Christian Eckes making his first start of the 2018 season finished eighth driving his freshly painted orange and white No.15 JBL Audio Toyota Camry. Eckes, 17, who made his first career ARCA start two years ago in Nashville was disappointed with the results of his homecoming.

“We unloaded a really fast race car earlier today but just missed it as a whole during the race,” said Eckes. “We had a strong practice finishing near the top of the board but qualified back further than we wanted. Once the race started we just couldn’t get things rolling. We were hoping for better results but I’ll take the top-10.”

Eckes with 15 series starts (four top-5’s and 11 top-10’s) looks ahead to his next event on the schedule; Salem Speedway on April 22.

Natalie Decker, making her first start since earning the pole award and finishing a career best fifth at Daytona, made her Nashville debut Saturday night. The 20-year old Wisconsin native finished 11th behind the wheel of her No.25 Capital Partners – Yamaha Power Products Toyota.

After qualifying 12th for the 200-lap event, Decker, was scored as high as sixth place but fell back after late race pit stops. Nearly missing out on a top-10 finish, the optimistic Decker has plenty of positives to take away.

“It was definitely good to get back in the car again,” said Decker. “I feel I made a lot of gains overall this weekend. We were right in the middle of things for a while but the car got throttle tight coming off the corners late in the race. It was tough race but I’m happy with everything I learned. We’ve got a great team behind us and I feel really good about going to Salem.

The next event for the ARCA Racing Series is the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway coming April 22.