Whether one was behind the wheel of a race car, or both are atop a pit box at an ARCA Racing Series event, Bill and Billy Venturini are always working together. The father-son duo has turned their race team into the gold standard in ARCA competition, although the elder Venturini never expected to experience the kind of success that they have.
“I told my wife when we started that I was going to do it for three years and then quit,” Bill Venturini said. “I wanted to get it out of my system. But yet 42 years later I’m still doing it.”
His son, Billy, is a big reason why Bill is still involved in racing today. Billy took over the competition side of the business and let Bill focus on the marketing side. While there are times when the two don’t see eye-to-eye, Bill still knows that he made the right choice as the race team is now in the midst of its 33rd year in ARCA.
“I took him on as a partner because I value his opinion and his thoughts,” Bill said. “Sometimes I don’t agree with him, but I made the decision years ago when we became partners to trust his decisions. It’s been a good marriage.”
One of those big decisions was the one made by Billy in 2007 to transform the team into what is mostly a driver development program. Some of NASCARS brightest future stars have climbed into the driver’s seat of a Venturini Motorsports car, including 2015 Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones.
Venturini Motorsports currently fields cars for legendary ARCA driver Frank Kimmel, as well as budding young stars, Cody Coughlin, Brandon Jones, and Daniel Suarez.
“My dad has been very flexible in letting me do the business the way I saw fit and by my vision,” Billy said. “I’ve enjoyed what we’ve been doing and it’s worked well. It probably works so well because of him, to be honest.”
Billy’s greatest memory came in the 2012 season when the team celebrated its 30th anniversary in ARCA. Kevin Swindell piloted the Venturini no. 55 to the win by leading all 100 laps at Chicagoland Speedway, the home track for the Venturini’s who originally called the Chicago area their home base before migrating southeast to North Carolina.
“We had like 400 people out here and it was their wedding anniversary and we led every lap and won it,” Billy said. “It was really cool to be able to give that to mom and dad. That was a great moment I was able to share with my dad.”
For Bill, his favorite father-son memory was the start of a now very famous Venturini Motorsports Tradition, ‘The Kiss,’ which happened when Billy won at Salem Speedway in Indiana in 2006.
“When he won his first ARCA race at Salem is probably the best one,” Bill said. “It started a little tradition too when I kissed him in victory lane. I didn’t realize it was going to become the trademark of a Venturini victory.”
With the way things have been going for Bill and Billy and all of Venturini Motorsports over the past few years, we probably haven’t seen the last Venturini smooch as they continue their winning ways.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Venturini Motorsports Photo