The two-hour practice session on Thursday leading up to the race was canceled due to rain and ARCA Racing Series officials rescheduled it for the morning of the race – while needing to shorten it as well to 55-minutes. The rain on Thursday combined with fog on Friday morning kept the track from drying in time and the new practice session was also canceled.
ARCA Racing Series officials decided to use Friday’s previously scheduled qualifying session, from 1:05 to 2:15 p.m., as a practice session and to then set the starting grid by owner points.
Working with a new crew chief Duno and her Venturini Motorsports team were able to increase their speed with adjustments throughout the only practice session and Duno was 17th quickest.
Owner points would place Duno and her No. 35 Milka Way/Cantv Toyota 10th on the starting grid for the 50-lap / 150-mile race.
In a rare caution-free race Duno would pit under green flag conditions only once, on lap 32, and receive fuel, new tires all around and some adjustments to the car.
Duno crossed the finish line scored in 21st.
“We sure could have used that 2-hour practice session on Thursday – but that’s how it goes sometimes,” said Duno. “In the practice time that we had we were definitely moving in the right direction and the car was getting quicker. It’s always nice to start a race in the top-10 but in reality we weren’t the 10th fastest car going into the race. In fact, there was a lot of shuffling going on in the first part of the race as cars that were quicker in practice but starting further back were moving up through the field and vice versa.”
“Some changes had been made to the car between the practice session and the race and unfortunately it just wasn’t as quick,” added Duno. “It wasn’t possible for me to stay in the top-10 but I was able to stay in the top-20 for a bit more than half the race. But at the end it just wasn’t possible and I finished 21st. Thanks to my entire crew – they truly worked very hard – as they always do.”
"This was my first race with Milka and I can tell you she fought hard throughout the whole race and brought the car back without a scratch on it, said Jeff McClure, Crew Chief, No. 35 Venturini Motorsports Cantv/Milka Way Toyota. “We worked really hard in the time that we had and if we had just a bit more practice time I’m confident that she would have had a much better result.”
Duno is now 7th in the Driver Point Standings and next up on the schedule will be her first visit to the 0.4-mile oval at Berlin Raceway on Michigan in August 10th.
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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. 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.