Venturini Motorsports

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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.


Hailie Deegan to run six ARCA races this season

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Hailie Deegan, coming off her last-lap pass to win Thursday night’s K&N Pro Series West race, announced that she will drive six ARCA races and one K&N Series race for Venturini Motorsports.

The 17-year-old Toyota Racing Development driver will make her ARCA debut May 19 at Toledo Speedway. She’ll also compete in ARCA races at Pocono Raceway (May 31), Madison International Speedway (June 14), Elko Speedway (July 13), Lucas Oil Raceway (Oct. 5) and Kansas Speedway (Oct. 18). She will drive for Venturini Motorsports in the K&N Pro Series East race Aug. 15 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

She will have sponsorship from Monster Energy, Craftsman and iK9.

MORE: Hailie Deegan: I put my helmet on the same way everyone else does

So will this ARCA deal lead to a full-time effort in that series next year?

“I think it honestly depends on how this year goes with my K&N Series,” Deegan said Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “I think if we get that championship, yes, I would want to move up and make that step into a bigger series after we accomplish everything we can in this series. That’s something I really wanted to do with my career is win at every level I’m at before I move up. I think this year in the ARCA Series, I just want to go out there, be able to run in the top five, go out there and maybe get a win.”

Deegan’s win Thursday was her second career K&N Pro Series  West victory. She won last year at Meridian (Idaho) Speedway.

“I wanted to come into this year to really show everyone that we’re going to be competitive during this K&N West season, that I’m going for a championship, that we’re not playing games,” she said. “We’re here to win races.”

Saturday, Deegan will drive the pace car for the Xfinity race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Harrison Burton set for limited ARCA schedule

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Harrison Burton‘s 2019 racing schedule got a bit more crowded with Venturini Motorsports’ announcing Thursday he will compete for the team part-time in ARCA this season.

Burton, who will race full-time in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports, will compete in five events for Venturini driving the No. 20 Camry.

The two-time ARCA winner will make his first start at Daytona on Feb. 9.

Burton will then make starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 23), Pocono Raceway (May 31), Chicagoland Speedway (June 27) and the season finale at Kansas Speedway (Oct. 18).

“I’m super excited to join Venturini Motorsports and continue running in the series,” Burton said in a press release. “I love ARCA Racing and the community around it. The series is a great option in the grand scheme of things when it comes to my career development. It’s a great stepping stone as I continue to the next level.”

Burton has 11 ARCA starts since 2016. His wins came at Pocono Raceway and Toledo Speedway.

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NASCAR Next’s Spencer Davis to drive seven ARCA races for Venturini Motorsports

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NASCAR Next driver Spencer Davis has signed to drive seven races in the ARCA Racing Series this season for Venturini Motorsports, it was announced Friday.

Davis, 18, is a member of the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class. He will make his ARCA debut May 5 at Talladega in Venturini Motorsports’ No. 15 Toyota.

Davis also will drive the team’s No. 25 Toyota at Pocono Raceway, Michigan International Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Lucas Oil Raceway, Kentucky Speedway and the season-ending race at Kansas Speedway.

During last month’s ARCA open test at Daytona, Davis was the second fastest (189.092 mph) of the 63 drivers entered.

His crew chief will be Dave Leiner. Davis also will compete in 20 Super Late Model races this season.

Davis has competed part-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series since 2015. In 18 starts, he has one win, eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes and one pole.

Davis is a native of Dawsonville, Georgia, home of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott and son Chase.

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NASCAR Next alumni Nicole Behar making ARCA debut

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Nicole Behar, who was a member of the 2015-16 NASCAR Next class, will make her ARCA Series debut this weekend at Madison International Speedway.

The 18-year-old driver from Spokane, Washington, will make the start in the Montgomery Ward Fathers Day 200 for  Venturini Motorsports.

Behar is making her ARCA debut after one full season in the K&N Pro Series West, where she drove for a family owned team. Behar is tied for the best result ever by a female driver after finishing second at Irwindale Event Center.

She’s made one start this season in the CARS Super Late Model Tour while also competing in the NorthWest Super Late Model Series.

“ARCA is the next logical step for sure,” Behar said in a press release. “Venturini Motorsports is a great team that has the knowledge and experience to help me get where I want to be. Hopefully, we can come out this weekend with a good finish. It’s only one race so far.”

Madison might be the best place for Behar to debut with Venturini Motorsports. The team has won three of the first four races at the half-mile track, winning with Alex Bowman, Justin Boston and Kyle Benjamin.

“It’d be great to win, but if we could come out with a top-10 that’d be great,” Behar said. “Everyone wants to win but we all know it’s not that simple.”

This weekend will also be the first time Behar will experience live pit stops in a race.

“I’m hoping to get some pit stop practice in before the race,” Behar said. “My dad’s dragging our K&N car in a Toterhome to Madison so I can hopefully practice with a heavy stock car on that track.”

MORE: Nicole Behar’s NASCAR Next Q&A