ARCA team lawsuit alleges two former employees stole information

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Venturini Motorsports alleges in court documents that former employees Frank Kimmel and Griffin Rider “engaged in a scheme designed to steal (Venturini Motorsports’) most sensitive intellectual property” shortly before leaving the team.

In its complaint, Venturini Motorsports alleges that Rider downloaded setup information from a team computer to a USB drive and that Kimmel took photos and/or video of the underbody of Venturini Motorsports cars in the setup room.

VIEW: Venturini Motorsports vs. Griffin Rider and Frank Kimmel Complaint

Venturini Motorsports alleges the incidents took place Dec. 16, 2019 when senior management was at a wind tunnel test. The team states in court documents that Kimmel resigned Dec. 18 and Rider resigned Dec. 19.

Venturini Motorsports notes in court documents that KBR Development, an ARCA team owned by Michael Bursley, announced Dec. 20 that it had hired Kimmel to be its general manager. NBC Sports reached out to Bursley to confirm that Kimmel remained employed by KBR Development but received no response.

Venturini Motorsports alleges in court documents that Rider downloaded sensitive information from a team computer to a USB device. Venturini Motorsports cites security video footage that showed Rider removing the team’s crew chief computer from the setup area of the race shop. The team states in court documents that “the recording depicts Rider carrying the computer out to the parking lot and into an unlocked (team) trailer whereupon Rider spent approximately eleven (11) minutes with the computer. The recordings then depict Rider carrying the computer (initially concealed in a seat cover) back into the setup area, and returning it to its original position.”

Venturni Motorsports stated in court documents that it had a forensic analysis done of the computer. In an affidavit, Clark Walton states that his analysis indicates a USB drive was connected to the computer for 11 minutes on Dec. 16 and shows the files and folders that were opened and copied.

Venturini Motorsports alleges in court documents that the team’s security camera “captured Kimmel removing a mobile telephone from his pocket, whereupon numerous flashes of light reveal that Kimmel then took photographs and/or video of the underbody VMS’ cars in the setup room.”

The North Carolina Business Court ordered Kimmel to identify, collect and return to Venturini Motorsports by Monday the photographs and/or video of the underbody of the team’s cars taken by Kimmel on Dec. 16, 2019.

The court also ordered that Kimmel must by Monday:

# Identify all copies of the team’s intellectual property, if there are any, no longer in his possession or control.

# Identify all individuals and entities that Kimmel provided copies of any or all of Venturini Motorsports’ intellectual property and the date, time and method of such transfer.

# Provide Kimmel’s mobile phone to a specified forensic analyst.

The court has scheduled a hearing Wednesday on Venturini Motorsports’ motion for leave to take expedited discovery and motion for temporary restraining order.

Kimmel was a 10-time ARCA driving champion and all-time series winner with 80 victories.

Venturini Motorsports won 14 of 20 ARCA races last year. Christian Eckes won the ARCA series title for the team last year. Teammate Michael Self was second in points.