Elkhart Lake, Wis. – In Saturday’s inaugural ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards SCOTT 160 at Road America Duno drove her No. 35 Cantv/Milka Way Toyota to a 12th place finish – her seventh top-15 finish of the nine events held to date – and her fifth top-15 finish in a row.
In the qualifying sessions leading up to the race four groups of cars were scheduled to go out on the track in four separate qualifying sessions. The cars would take the green flag then have 10 minutes to turn laps on the 4.048-mile road course. At the end of the 10-minute session, the best lap speed for each car would become that drivers’ qualifying time. Duno was in the third group and qualified 15th under this format, but her fastest lap, that secured her the 15th spot, was slowed and affected by a slower car in front of her in the session.
During her first pit stop of the 40-lap race Duno was penalized for exceeding the pit road speed – a penalty that would keep her stopped in her pit stall for 15 seconds after all work on her car had been completed. Something occurred that caused the counting of the 15-second time to be stopped and then restarted – which held Duno in the pits for longer.
Duno would pit once again during the race and crossed the finish line in 12th.
“We struggled with brake issues throughout the practice, qualifying and race and it affected our ability to be competitive,” said Duno. “We all worked very hard to solve the problems - especially as brakes are critically important on road courses. With a 14-turn course if your braking system is not working perfectly it’s really going to affect you. The team worked very, very hard on it but it just wasn’t something that could readily be solved at the track.”
“There was confusion in the pits with the penalty and that affected us as well,” added Duno. “While I’m ok with the 12th– place finish - I’m not satisfied with it - and Venturini Motorsports isn’t either. We’re all fierce competitors on this team and while we now have five top-15 finishes in a row I think we all agree that several of them could have been top-10 finishes. I know that we’ll all be working very hard to overcome and eliminate the things that have kept us out of the top-10.”
“Milka continues to put in a consistent effort week in and week out,” said Billy Venturini, Director of Competition for Venturini Motorsports. “I believe she’ll end up in a great position in the year-long point standings.”
Although it was her first race at Road America in a stock car, the road course circuit was not entirely unfamiliar to Duno. She raced once at Road America in the American Le Mans Series in the highest category (LMP 900) – a series in which she ultimately earned five career wins.
Her finish at Road America further solidified her current ranking of 7th in the Driver Point Standings and moved her closer in the hunt for 6th.
Next on the schedule for Duno and her Venturini Motorsports team will be the 10th race of the 2013 ARCA Racing Series season at Winchester Speedway on June 30.
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. She is currently making a transition from IndyCar racing to stock car racing and for 2013 is competing for her first full season in the 2013 ARCA Racing Series Championship with Venturini Motorsports. Her next challenge is to become the first Latina in history to compete in NASCAR.
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.