Two-time ARCA Menards Series winner Gus Dean returns to the potent Venturini Motorsports for a third consecutive season, beginning with next weekend’s ARCA season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on February 17, 2024.
Dean, 29, returns to the Concord, N.C.-based team for a limited schedule after a five-race schedule last year included two runner-up performances at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and Michigan International Speedway, respectively.
Overall, Dean delivered three top-10 finishes in his five starts.
Since joining the family-owned operation in 2022, in nine premier ARCA Menards Series races, Dean has mounted six top-five and seven top-10 runs.
A competitor in the ARCA Menards Series since 2016, the veteran racer returns to the “World Center of Racing” for an eighth time focused on delivering Venturini Motorsports their 100th career ARCA triumph at the 2.5-mile superspeedway in one of five team entries.
Dean scored his first career ARCA Menards Series victory in just his second start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in 2016 but had been cursed at Daytona throughout five previous races until he returned to the track on the ARCA scene in 2022, where he qualified second and recovered from being collected in a mid-race incident to collect his then 14th career ARCA top-five finish.
Last year, the Daytona curse struck again after the team experienced an uncharacteristic mechanical failure, which resulted in a disappointing 35th-place finish.
Back aboard the No. 55 Toyota Camry, Dean is determined to chase his third career ARCA win in the Sunshine State.
“I am thrilled to return to the Venturini Motorsports team in 2024 again,” said Dean. “We have built a great foundation together over the past two years. We inched closer to Victory Lane with two runner-up finishes last year, and I know that we can come out of the box swinging at Daytona, turn our success into checkered flags, and get ourselves a win or two throughout the year.”
Last month, Dean once again said he wheeled the best superspeedway car of his career during the annual preseason ARCA testing at the iconic race track, which saw the No. 55 Toyota Camry run one of the fastest laps of the weekend and give the Kevin Reed Jr.-led team momentum leaning into the first of 20 races on the 2024 schedule.
“I can’t begin to describe how fast our Toyota Camry was during last month’s test,” added Dean. “It’s the same car that we had here last February. I did not think we could improve the car, but we did.
“Even though we tested for just four hours, I left the track knowing it was the best superspeedway car I have ever had. I hope we can build on the success and our notes during the event weekend. I can add to Venturini Motorsports’ overall success at Daytona and deliver the biggest win of my ARCA career.”
Venturini Motorsports’ Billy Venturini says having a veteran like Dean back in the team’s lineup this season is essential.
“(I) Love Gus,” offered Venturini. “He is a lot different than most of our drivers. He has a great attitude, always upbeat. He brings a solid performance every single race. You look at his results – they have been steady and sound. He’s a wonderful person to have and carries veteran leadership.
“I’d love to be able to experience a first Daytona win with Gus; he’d appreciate the meaning of it the way you’re supposed to. He understands the magnitude of this place.”
Venturini added that Dean is the most experienced driver of his fleet at Daytona, and while he knows he will serve as a great captain for the organization, his leadership will be pivotal in 2024.
“The longer he is here, the more he represents himself as one of our more experienced assets. He did step into that leadership role last year, but last year, he had Jesse (Love), who was his wingman. This will be a good spot for him to step into a new leadership role and be our hub with our drivers when he races. He will excel.”
As for 2024, Venturini expects similar, if not better, results for his popular driver.
“Gus is capable of running inside the top three or four on any given weekend,” Venturini sounded. “A contender to win every race track we go. I expect him to run in the top four and contend for the win.”
Added Dean, “The Venturini Motorsports team really welcomed me with open arms the last two seasons, and they continued to make me feel like I was a member of their family. That is important to me. Billy, Mr. Bill, Mrs. Cathy (Venturini), and the entire Venturini Motorsports team believe in me and my abilities, and as a race car driver, there is no better feeling than that.
“I am ready for Daytona and cannot wait to get there.”
In 2024, Dean will compete in a minimum of six races aboard the No. 55 Toyota Camry. In addition to Daytona, he is scheduled for competition at Talladega Superspeedway, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Salem (Ind.) Speedway and Michigan International Speedway in August.
Additional ARCA races with Venturini Motorsports could be added as the season progresses.
Dean says that with an increased schedule in 2024 that consists of speedways and short tracks, it is a great balance.
“Of course, I enjoy racing at Daytona, Talladega, Charlotte and Michigan, but adding Iowa and Salem to our plate this year is fantastic. I enjoy racing at both places, especially Salem, and I can be instrumental in helping Venturini Motorsports and my teammates make the 2024 a successful one.”
Before Dean buckles in at Daytona, he will have a busy week leading up to the 2024 ARCA season opener, as he’ll also be competing at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in the highly contested World Series of Asphalt driving a Super Late Model for DLP Motorsports starting on February 9, 2024.
“It means everything to us to have Gus represent DLP Motorsports,” said David “Buggy” Pletcher, owner of DLP Motorsports. “Not only is Gus a great person, but he is also a talented driver. It’s good to have a driver of his caliber with all his experience for the younger drivers to bounce ideas and such off each other.
“We’re moving back to a Super Late Model this year, and we’re excited about bringing a brand new race car to the track. The competition will be strong, but I believe in Gus and his abilities and know we can turn some heads.”
Dean Racing PR