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Jul 16, 2013 - 05:43 AM
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Venezuela's Milka Duno 7th in ARCA Points to Chicagoland
Posted by: newsla on Jul 16, 2013 - 05:41 AM
NASCAR News
Venezuela's Milka Duno 7th in ARCA Points to Chicagoland


Caracas, Venezuela's Milka Duno holds four Masters Degrees - in Organizational Development, Naval Architecture, Aquaculture, and Maritime Business. As it turns out, she also holds an ARCA steering wheel pretty well too.

 

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In 36 career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards starts, Duno is beginning to make tracks in all the right directions. She most certainly got everyone's attention in the season-opening Daytona ARCA 200 where she qualified second and the led the first 11 laps before mechanical troubles caused her to fall off the lead lap, ultimately finishing 28th.

Still yet, her statement was loud and clear. With a little more luck, and in the right situation, she's quite capable of leading the pack. And if she can cross under the checkered flag in first, Duno would make ARCA history (61 years) by becoming the first female driver in ARCA to win in the world's most versatile stock car tour. While a few female drivers have come close to an ARCA win, none have accomplished the ultimate prize.

"It would be fantastic," Duno said. "First and foremost, as a driver, I always want to win races - so I'd love to win, especially at a first-class track like Chicagoland. If at the same time I become the first woman to win an ARCA Series race - that would be wonderful and an honor as well."

Currently, Shawna Robinson (second at Daytona) and Erin Crocker (second at Kentucky and Kansas) hold the distinction of being the highest female race finishers in ARCA history.

Duno is also seventh in points headed to Chicagoland, just 15 points away from Josh Williams. Robinson, in addition to being the highest female race finisher, is the highest finishing female points finisher in series history, finishing sixth in championship standings in 2000.

Duno drives for Venturini Motorsports in the No. 35 Cantv-Milka Way Toyota. Venturini Motorsports, which originated in Chicago in 1981, has been competing in the ARCA Series for more than 30 years, earning two championships with the company patriarch Bill Venturini in 1987 and 1991.

While the Venturini brand has not won an ARCA title since, they have been churning out a consistent stream of ARCA winners over the decades with a wide variety of drivers, including John Wes Townley, who opened the 2013 season with a big win at Daytona in a Venturini-prepared machine. The team's most recent win was with Brennan Poole at Michigan in mid-June.

"With an opportunity to drive for Venturini Motorsports, I know that I've got the very best cars and equipment around me. The cars are fast on all the tracks we compete at. It doesn't matter where we go, I know I have a chance to compete for top-fives no matter if it's a superspeedway or a short track."

One of the most successful female sports car racers in history, Duno opened her racing career in 1998 when invited by a friend to participate in a Porsche driving clinic.

Duno is the first Latin American woman to be classified an "expert," and has participated in several prestigious races, including the 24 Hours of LeMans, the 24 Hours of Daytona, and the Indianapolis 500. Duno competed in the American LeMans Series championship in the early 2000s before moving to the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004 where she has earned three victories overall.

Duno's career-best ARCA finish is eighth at the Salem Speedway short track, one of the most challenging tracks on the ARCA tour. She also finished 10th at New Jersey Motorsports Park (road course), 10th last time out at Winchester Speedway, and 11th at Michigan Int'l Speedway back in June.

Duno is already the first Latin American woman to qualify and race in the Indianapolis 500, leading the way to an IndyCar career which has includes 43 starts and three Indianapolis 500s. She is also the first woman in history to win a major international race in the United States, and has eight professional career race wins at top levels, and several wins at minor levels.

"You need a really fast car and everyone - the team, pit crew and driver needs to be in synergy and very focused. It also helps a lot to have a bit of luck on your side as well. If we can avoid the 'big one', and have some luck, and stay out of trouble, I think we can win. I'm with the right team. I have the right people around me. We can do this."

Her next stop - the 13th running of the Ansell ActivArmr 150 at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday, July 21.

The Ansell ActivArmr 150 will follow the same-day NASCAR Nationwide Series STP 300 on Sunday, July 21 at 5:00 p.m. local central time, live on SPEED. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will accompany raceday activities at noon. Practice for the Ansell ActivArmr 150 will take place on Saturday from 4:10 through 6.

ARCAracing.com will also feature live timing and scoring of all ARCA Racing Series on-track activity.
Discounted tickets are available at 46 Menards stores in the greater Chicago area. Tickets will be $35 at the gate for the July 21 Ansell ActivArmr 150 and the NASCAR Nationwide STP 300 but can be purchased for just $20 until July 20 - a $15 savings. The child ticket price will be $5. The ticket vouchers can be purchased at the Menards stores and redeemed at the track on race day or before.


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