Max Gresham is ready to get back behind the wheel of an ARCA Racing presented by Menards series car as he will team up with Venturini Motorsports for the Ford Dealers Fall Classic at Salem Speedway in Indiana.
“I’m excited to go back to Salem,” Gresham said. “It’s been a good track for me. I won a pole at Salem in my first ever ARCA race and we ran really well this past spring in the No. 25 Venturini car. I like going back to tracks where I have run well in the past. It’s great when you go with a team like Venturini Motorsports because they always run well there too. My Venturini Motorsports teammate, Brennan Poole, won the spring race at Salem. Hopefully, we can go in and get my first win in ARCA this season with them this weekend.”
Gresham hasn’t found the winning success like his teammate Poole, however he has come close. In Jne, Gresham finished second at Michigan International Speedway and last month, finished sixth at Pocono Raceway after winning the pole.
“I for sure love the high banks and high-speed race tracks,” Gresham added. “They tend to suit my style and things seem to work out for me at them. It’s a lot of fun to throw an ARCA car right up against the wall at a place like Salem. It’s definitely a challenge, but when the race is over, you think ‘wow, that’s a lot of fun.’ Salem is a challenge, but it’s really enjoyable.”
Despite the lack of ARCA starts this year, Gresham has been busy as he drove the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to a fifth-place finish in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event at Greenville-Pickens Speedway last weekend, holds a 65-point lead in that division’s championship standings.
With no pressures of having to work about the points, Gresham only has one thought on his mind.
“The expectations are the same as they always are,” Gresham said. “Billy Venturini and his guys are going up there to win. That’s what they do and that’s what I am going to try to do for them.”
Meanwhile for Mason Mingus and Win-Tron Racing, a good run is the key for their effort as Mingus will be making his first ever ARCA Racing Series start.
“I have heard a lot about Win-Tron racing and seen that they have had a very good track record in the past,” he said. “That helps me to have confidence that I will be able to adjust very quickly because they will have a good car when they show up to the track. I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”
This 16-year-old does come with experience as he has raced in the Champion Racing Association Super Late Model Series and is a former winner at Salem Speedway in the Ken-Ten Series in June 2010.
Salem Speedway definitely ranks near the top of the list of my favorite tracks to race at,” the Brentwood, Tennessee native said. “I have only been able to race at Salem one time, but I had a lot of success there. It is a very tough track to race on but as long as we are able to save tires and have a consistent car it is a lot of fun.
“Being that this will be my first time in an ARCA car it will be a big learning experience. I intend to be patient throughout the race and take opportunities when they come. Although it will be a different experience than driving a late model I will do everything I can to be competitive enough to win the race.”
Win-Tron Racing this year has ran with a mixture of drivers as Mingus marks the fifth different driver to drive the No. 32 Champion Brands Toyota Camry this year.
“It’s always exciting to bring a driver to ARCA for the first time,” Win-Tron Racing co-car owner Nate Thiesse said. “Mason comes to our team on the heels of a healthy season in the CRA Super Late Model Series and an extensive resume that resonates back years. Obviously, his experience at Salem will play into our advantage initially as far as him getting up to speed, but he’s up against some competition he’s never had to face before and a car he is unfamiliar with.
“Despite those scenarios, there is potential for him to earn a lot of respect and potentially gleam in the limelight. While we know that our team is capable of winning races, we haven’t set our expectations that high for Mason. We just want him to learn, have fun and hopefully we’ll leave somewhere inside the top-10. If we can do that, we’ll consider the weekend a great success.”
While they are just looking to have a good solid night, a win is something that is very well possible.
“We’re not saying that Mason can’t win the race on Saturday night,” Thiesse added. “We just don’t want to put that kind of pressure on him in his first race. Salem though is a track where strange things have happened and a place that has bred first-time winners, so anything is possible. The biggest goal for this weekend is for him to be safe, have fun and bring the car home in one piece.”
The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic by Federated Car Care (200 laps / 111 miles) is the 17th of 19 events on the 2011 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Saturday, September 17 with an hour and a half practice session planned from 1:05 p.m. – 2:35 p.m. Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying is slated to begin at 4:00 p.m.
The field will take the green flag later in the evening at approximately 7:15 p.m. The event will not be televised but race coverage including live timing and scoring throughout the 1,329th race for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards since it was formed in 1953 will be available through the ARCA Racing Network (ARN) online at arcaracing.com presented by ARCANation.com. All times are local.