The heat and humidity was in full force during the ARCA Menards Series’ (ARCA) rare Thursday night prime time event at Chicagoland Speedway. Hoping to continue their own hot streak Venturini Motorsports (VMS) set its sights on capturing their eighth team win of the season on familiar ground.
Armed with another potent driver lineup, Harrison Burton (No.20 RUUD Toyota) led VMS’ hometown charge with a runner up finish behind winner Ty Majeski. Burton, 18, qualified fifth and led laps during the late stages of the 100-lap event but ran out of time before the checkered flag flew.
Burton’s second-place effort extends VMS’ series leading owner points advantage giving the No.20 team its ninth top-five in twelve races on the season.
“We came up a short but had a great night with Venturini Motorsports in the RUUD Toyota,” said Burton. “We aren’t running for championship points over here, but the twenty-team is leading the owner’s points and it’s really important to us to keep them up front. Although the focus is always on winning we gained a ton of race experience on a new track tonight and that helps.”
Pulling double duty at Chicagoland, Burton will have another shot at victory lane in tonight’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series when he returns to the seat of his No.18 Safelite Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
ARCA’s championship leading driver and defending race winner, Michael Self (No.25 Sinclair Oil Toyota), returned to Chicagoland looking for more magic but in the end settled for a fourth place finish. Self, who started on the pole after earning his second consecutive General Tire Pole Award and fifth of the season led during the early stages but couldn’t get things rolling in the end but left Chicago with his series points lead intact.
“I made a couple of mistakes on pit road that cost us a lot of spots,” Self said afterwards. “I left before the left rear tire was on the car on the final stop and instead of restarting fourth we restarted ninth. The last lap was a good one, the best lap I ran all night. I wish we could have had a couple more laps so I could do more of what we did on the last lap.”
Christian Eckes (No.15 JBL Audio Toyota) with additional support from team sponsor NORTOWN Automotive and Chicago Blackhawks Goaltender, Corey Crawford, fought hard keeping his Toyota within striking distance but ended up finishing seventh for his tenth top-10 of the season. A championship contender, Eckes, 18, remains 80-points behind teammate Michael Self for top spot in the standings.
After twelve events on the season the ARCA Menards Series will take a brief summer break before returning to action in Minnesota at Elko Speedway on Saturday, July 13.