With Duno taking the pole at Talladega she became just the fourth woman to earn a pole in ARCA Series history and the second woman to win the pole in ARCA Series competition at Talladega. It has been 25 years since a woman has won an ARCA pole at Talladega – it was in 1988 that Patty Moise won back to back ARCA poles at the superspeedway.
Duno led the first 7 laps of the scheduled 94-lap race and then remained solidly in the top-five until, on lap 29, while maneuvering around a lap car, Duno veered up the track. Side-to-side contact was made between Duno and the No.15 of John Wes Townley.
It was a great experience for me to start on the pole and I was doing my best to stay in the lead,” said Duno. “I got shuffled back a little bit by bit but was doing my best to stay up in the front. We came up on a lap car and I was trying to clear him when he quickly moved up and I reacted to try and avoid contact. Unfortunately, John Wes Townley and I were very close to each other and there was contact between us. We spoke briefly in the medical center and I asked him if he was ok and he said yes. I had no idea how hard he hit both of the walls until I was able to see some video after the race. It was an unfortunate incident that I'm very sorry about and I'm so happy that he's ok.”
Just a few laps later, with Duno in 5th, a car alongside and just ahead came down and made contact with the right front of Duno’s car which almost put her into a spin. Duno maintained control of her car but was then hit from behind which spun her out.
“I was running in 5th when the big crash occurred,” added Duno. “A car came down into me and made contact with the right front of my car which caused me to wiggle a bit - but I was able to hang onto it. This is all happening at very high speeds and when my car started to wiggle it also caused it to slow up a bit and then I was hit from behind which sent me spinning - and then there were cars spinning everywhere. It ended my race and the race for many others as well. With the opportunity to start on the pole I was really looking forward to the race and I had hoped we would have a good result - but unfortunately it just didn't work out that way. VMS really brought me a good car and they were so great and supportive - I can’t thank them enough. They are a wonderful organization to compete with.”
The scheduled 94 laps / 250 miles race on the famed 2.66-mile tri-oval was red flagged due to rain on lap 73.
As of the race just completed at Talladega Duno stands ninth in the ARCA Series Driver Point Standings with 525 points.
Duno’s next ARCA Series race will be on Sunday, May 19 at Toledo Speedway.
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About Milka Duno
Duno has eight major race wins in the highest classes (Prototype) in the American Le Mans Series and Rolex Series and the highest finish ever by a female driver (2nd Place) in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the 48-year history of the race. Off the track, Duno is a certified Naval Engineer who holds four master’s degrees, earning the last three simultaneously.
Duno is also working through her “Milka Way” program to inspire youth to “Aim for the Stars” and achieve academic excellence. For more information on Milka Way, visit www.milkaway.com.
Fans cans also logon to her official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheOfficialMilkaDunoFanPage.
Duno can also be followed on Twitter at @MilkaDuno
About Venturini Motorsports
Venturini Motorsports (VMS), fielding cars for over 30-years in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, is one of the premier NASCAR driver development programs in the country. Multiple team championships and consistent on-track success, VMS has evolved into one of the most recognizable names in motorsports. Since 2007, VMS has assisted in the career development of notable NASCAR drivers such as Joey Logano, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Brian Scott, Kevin Swindell, Miguel Paludo, John Wes Townley, Josh Richards and Johanna Long.
In 2012, VMS and the Venturini family was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and now find themselves enshrined with such sports icons as Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Vince Lombardi, Tommy Lasorda and Rocky Marciano, among others.
After nearly two decades away from NASCAR, 2013 marks VMS’s modern day return to the series with John Wes Townley driving the team’s familiar No.25 in selective NASCAR Nationwide Series events.