LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Having experienced a run of misfortune due to electrical issues in her last two races leading up the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards ZLOOP 150 Milka Duno and her Venturini Motorsports (VMS) team were looking forward to delivering a good result at Kentucky Speedway.
Due to rain on Friday the qualifying session was cancelled and the race was postponed to Saturday as well. The starting grid for the 100-lap race was determined by Car Owner points and Duno’s No. 35 Cantv/Milka Way Toyota would start 10th on a green, rain-washed surface.
On the first lap of the race, heading into turns 1 and 2, Duno was passed closely on the outside which took the air off her car and reduced the downforce on the rear of the car - sending her into a spin and contact with the wall and the left rear of her car.
Hoping that the damage might only be cosmetic her VMS crew quickly brought her to the pits and went into action. But the damage wasn’t just cosmetic – it was serious – the rear clip was bent and Duno would need to pit four times for the team to have the time needed to make the best repairs that they could. The aero damage alone would affect the car for the rest of the race
Having started 10th Duno was now 28th – but not for long. On lap 4th she was scored 28th and on lap 5 she had climbed five spots and was now 23rd. On lap 11 she took 22nd and then 21st on lap 40.
But then misfortune would strike again when the No. 99 made hard contact with Duno’s right front - causing body damage and flattening the right front tire. Back in the pits the team replaced the tire and worked on the body damage and sent her back out. Duno would pit once again for three additional new tires and more work on the body damage.
Now in 25th Duno able to take 24th and then 23rd – where she ultimately finished.
What a tough, discouraging day it was for us,” said Duno. “We had great track position for the start of the race but everyone knew that due to the rain the track surface was going to be really green. When we were passed on that first lap we lost the air and I did my best to control it but it sent us into the wall. That damage, that early in the race, pretty much ruined our chances for a good result and then getting hit later in the race only added to that.”
“The Venturini Motorsports crew worked very hard in the pits throughout the race to make the most of an unfortunate situation and to give me the best car that they could under the circumstances,” added Duno.
"That bit of bad luck on the first lap and then getting hit later in the race would affect our entire day,” said Kevin Caldwell, Crew Chief, No. 35 Venturini Motorsports Cantv/Milka Way Chevrolet. “We did our best to deal with what was thrown at us throughout the race and Milka never, ever gave up. Even with a damaged car she was moving up.”
Duno, solidly 7th in the ARCA Racing Series Driver Point Standings, finishes her first full season in ARCA competition at Kansas Speedway on Oct 4th.
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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.
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.