Venturini Motorsports is putting together their 2011 plans with a list of new talent behind the wheel.
Veteran Firestone Indy Lights, Asian and British Formula Three driver Alastair (Ali) Jackson, a native of Northern Ireland, has signed with Venturini Motorsports for the 2011 and 2012 ARCA Racing Series seasons.
"Ali has tremendous talent and desire to succeed," said Billy Venturini, general manager of Venturini Motorsports, in a press release, "We're honored to have the opportunity to help him make the transition and achieve his racing goals. He's an incredible addition to our team."
For the 2011 season, he will compete in select events to get ready for a full effort in 2012.
In 2006, Jackson began his professional career in the Asian Formula Three Championship Series. As a rookie at the age of 17, he became the youngest driver to win in Series history, capturing four victories and four pole positions.
In 2007, he moved to the competitive British Formula Three Series and drove for Raikkonen Robertson Racing, where he finished ninth in the point standings.
In 2009, Jackson attracted the attention of United States based RLR-Andersen Racing, for whom he competed in the Firestone Indy Lights Series, capturing a season best sixth-place finish at Long Beach.
Also, Max Gresham, a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, will pilot a Venturini Motorsports car in five select events.
"The expectations will be to run strong," said Gresham, "I will driving for a team with a history of winning ARCA championships. We'll be looking to finish well, run in the top-five, and be in a position to win at the end of races. It will be up to me as the driver to be as good as the team and the car Venturini Motorsports is going to provide me."
Gresham will make his ARCA Speedway debut at Chicagoland Speedway on June 4. The rest of the events will be Pocono Raceway (June 11th and August 6th), Michigan International Speedway (June 17th) and Kansas Speedway on October 7th. All five events will be televised live on SPEED.
"We're very excited about Max joining the team," said Venturini, "Max is a great young talent - he's already a proven winner in the ARCA Series and in NASCAR. I know Max is going to do a great job for us and hopefully, we're going to be able to help Max's career and get him to the level of racing he aspires to."
As a 16-year-old last April, the now-senior high school student at Woodward Academy in College Park, Ga. won the pole position in his ARCA career debut at Salem (Ind.) Speedway. Gresham then followed it up with a trip to Victory Lane in the prestigious Richmond Memorial event at Mansfield in only his third career ARCA outing.
Gresham also started his own NASCAR legacy in 2010, winning two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East events--one at South Boston (Va.) Speedway and the other at Iowa Speedway--and K&N pole positions at South Boston and Dover (Del.) Speedway.
Now, Gresham will be looking to take the next step to success on the super speedways with Venturini Motorsports. In addition to that venture, Gresham hopes to compete in select NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide events in 2011.
"I'm looking forward to getting some experience in the Truck or Nationwide Series - or both - this coming season," said Gresham, "I can't wait to get my feet wet in those divisions. It will be great to race with them, to see what kind of success I can have and to try to build on what I've been able to accomplish to date. I've talked to a lot of teams and there are definitely some good opportunities available. I don't have anything firm yet, but I'm confident I'll get something worked out with someone. Along with the Venturini ARCA deal, it's going to be a busy learning season for me."
Last but not least, Venturini Motorsports announced today that they have also teamed up with USAC driver Darren Hagen.
Hagan is slated to run selective events for the 2011 ARCA schedule while he competes in the USAC ranks.
“Darren possesses all the tangibles to become a great race car driver. I don’t think anyone can deny his racing ability. It’s his determination and character on and off the track that makes him standout. We’re excited to have him join our organization,” said Venturini.
Hagen began his driving career with Go-Karts at the age of 11. By the time he finished his third season, he had won more than 90 races including the So Cal Championship, two Tri C Championships and the California Junior State Championship in Junior Sportsman and Super Box.
In 2005 he made USAC history by becoming the first driver ever to be awarded "Rookie of the Year" for both Sprint and Midget racing in the same season.
In 2006, he won the Hut Hundred National Midget Car race at Terre Haute and officially became "The Fastest Sprint Car Driver in the World" (2006-2010) by running a lap of 146.145 mph at Iowa Speedway--Darren held the prestigious title for four years.
Collecting more hardware along the way, Hagen won the 2010 USAC National Midget Car Series Pavement Championship, feature winner at Toledo in the USAC National Midget Car Series, won the POWRi National Midget Series at Belle-Clair Speedway, swept the Gold Crown Midget Nationals at Tri-City (highest paid midget race of 2010) and won his Preliminary Night feature at the 2010 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals.
Venturini Motorsports, fielding cars in the ARCA Racing Series, is one of the premier NASCAR Driver Development Programs in the country. Since 2007, Venturini Motorsports has assisted in the career development of notable NASCAR drivers Joey Logano, Justin Allgaier, Scott Lagasse Jr., Brian Scott, John Wes Townley, Marc Davis, Steve Arpin and Mikey Kile. For more information on the Venturini Motorsports Driver Development program, visit www.VenturiniMotorsports.com.