Bringing new drivers to NASCAR’s top level is what’s required to continue overtime and grow. Teams are always out there looking for the next big star, whether it is looking at the local short track or in the lower tier divisions.
One of the teams on the cutting edge of this and who has a recognized background with the process is ARCA team Venturini Motorsports.
Venturini Motorsports started their Driver Develop Program in 2007 as a result of connection with Nationwide team CJM Racing. CJM Racing was looking for a program they could put young drivers into, test them out and get them ready for the highest levels.
After creating that connection, Joe Gibbs Racing joined in the program to develop their up-and-comers, most notably Joey Logano.
Since then, the program has grown to include other teams and is one of the most known programs in all ranks of racing. They also have grown to create connections with not only the above two mentioned teams, but also Xpress Motorsports and TD Racing Development (ASA Late Model team).
The two most notable drivers who have made it to the NASCAR ranks via the program are Logano and Justin Allgaier.
Logano, now driving in the Cup Series for Joe Gibbs Racing, has been dubbed the nickname “Sliced Bread” as everybody says he’s the next big talent. So far in his Cup career he has only one win, though he impressed the world as he came up through the ranks. Some notable career highlights including a Camping World East Series win in his first start, the Camping World East Series championship as a rookie, winning in his first ARCA start and he won in his third Nationwide start at Nashville to become the youngest Nationwide Series winner.
Allgaier got his chance to run in the Nationwide Series for Penske Racing after winning the 2008 ARCA Series championship. Allgaier is having a stand-out year as he got his first career Nationwide win at Bristol, sits top five in points and is arguably the best non-Cup driver in Nationwide. Allgaier looks to move up to Sprint Cup in the coming years as he tested the Cup car at the Charlotte Motor Speedway spoiler test.
Other drivers who have come through the program include Scott Lagasse Jr. (No. 43 NNS car for Baker Curb Racing), Brian Scott (No. 11 NNS car for Braun Racing), Sean Caisse (No. 2 NNS car for Richard Childress Racing), Justin Marks (No. 10 NNS car for Braun Racing), Marc Davis (No. 10 NNS car for Braun Racing) and John Wes Townley (No. 21 NNS for Richard Childress Racing).
Their current stable of ARCA Series drivers for 2010 includes Steve Arpin, Mikey Kile and Alli Owens.
Arpin has impressed this season as he has won back-to-back ARCA races and leads the points standings, looking for the championship. He has impressed at every level that he has so far raced at as he set numerous Late Model records. He was so impressive on dirt that Mark Martin said that he’d put anybody up against him. Arpin could soon to be considered a graduate of the program as JR Motorsports has signed him to run the No. 7 car in the Nationwide Series at Talladega Superspeedway and Richmond International Raceway.
Kile has also has ran strong this year, running in the top 10 each week so far this year and sits seventh in points. He has had past success as he has four go-karting championships and has run some truck races for Brad Keselowski Racing.
Last but not least, Owens is in her third ARCA season and has experienced success this year with a top 10 finish at Salem Speedway. She looks to continue to advance her career as the potential and how much she’s grown as a driver is high.
Other development drivers that Venturini Motorsports is bringing up through the ranks include Josh Richard (World of Outlaw Late Model), Jake Crum, Pete Shephard III, Johanna Long, Alex Yontz (UARA), Alison MacLeod and Logan Ruffin (No. 55 UARA).
So when it comes to seeing who the next up-and-coming driver is, check out the ARCA Series and Venturini Motorsports. You may see the next Sprint Cup champion winning a race for them.