AUDIO/FEATURE: Haley Ready to Rock in Toledo; Double Duty Leads to Plane Rides and Racing

Jacob Seelman ARCA, Audio, Featured, Midwest, Other Late Models, Stock Cars 0 Comments

CONORD, N.C. – Audio and story by Managing Editor Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online – photo courtesy J.J. Haley/CRA Racing — J.J. Haley is going to be a very busy 15-year-old over the next 48 hours.

The young driver is about to begin a whirlwind schedule, including both the ARCA Racing Series Menards 200 at Toledo Speedway on Sunday afternoon and plenty of time accumulating frequent flyer miles.

Haley already aspired to run for the Howie Lettow Memorial Rookie of the Year title in the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour this season, and after winning that division’s season opener at Springport Motor Speedway in Michigan, Venturini Motorsports came calling and made an offer that while making the young driver’s schedule much busier, was an offer he couldn’t refuse.

This weekend, Haley will make his ARCA Racing Series debut for the Venturini family driving the No. 66 Venturini Motorsports Toyota at the high-banked Toledo half-mile on Sunday afternoon. When Haley starts the event, he will eclipse Kyle Benjamin’s record, set last year, of the youngest driver to ever start an ARCA Racing Series event.

While the event is a big opportunity for the teenage driver who calls Winamac, Indiana home, it creates a battle of logistics, a tight and wild schedule, and allows for a whole lot of racing action.

“I can’t thank Venturini Motorsports enough for giving me the opportunity to make my first ARCA start this weekend,” an enthusiastic Haley said in a recent interview with Race Chaser Online. “This weekend is going to be super busy for me, but I’m ready for it, I feel like this team is up for the task and I can’t wait to get started.”

Here’s a look at the big picture.

On Saturday, May 17th, while the ARCA Racing Series holds Menards Pole Qualifying for the 200-lap main event at Toledo, Haley’s #99 Braun Ability Chevrolet is supposed to be on track for JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour (JCAST) practice roughly ten hours west in Lebanon, Missouri. The 2nd Annual Mercy Masters of the Pros 144 Presented by JEGS.com, race two of the JCAST, is also being run this weekend, at Lebanon I-44 Speedway near St. Louis.

Haley may not be able to be in two places at once, but his crew has a plan that is ready to be set into motion.

J.J. Haley Racing will have Jesse Smith, the 2006 ASA Late Model Northern Series champion and Missouri native, practice and qualify the JEGS/CRA car at Lebanon while Haley is qualifying in Toledo. Once Haley concludes his run at Toledo, he and several crew members will take a plane to Missouri in order for Haley to race 144 laps on Saturday.

Oh by the way, other than today’s scheduled practice at Lebanon I-44, the first time Haley will see the race track will be on Saturday night.

“It’s gonna be super tough! With bouncing back and forth from Missouri to Ohio to Missouri and back again it’ll certainly be exciting. Should get lots of seat time in,” laughed Haley as he spoke about his planned ordeal. “I need to gather as much knowledge as possible these few races and drive to the best of my abilities. Knowing that I have Venturini Motorsports with me will take a lot of the pressure away on the ARCA side.”

“I can’t wait to get on the track at both places this weekend. I’m ready, the team is ready, and now it’s all about the racing. Just thanks to everyone who’s helping make it happen again. I can’t believe my career is already where it is right now, and I couldn’t be more thankful for where it’s going and the people I’m meeting along the way.”

In eight races across three series so far this season, Haley has his one win in the JEGS/CRA car along with two top-fives and five-top ten finishes. After a fourth-place finish in the SpeedFest JEGS/CRA non-points opener at Watermelon Capital Speedway on January 26, Haley then competed in six of the seven Pro Late Model races as part of Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway. Haley finished ninth in the World Series Pro Late Model points standings even after he missed one race due to school obligations.

Haley will also make two more appearances for Venturini Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards later this season, with the potential of also adding select shows in the ARCA/CRA Super Series, Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman Series and Toledo Speedway ARCA Sportsman division.

Despite the busy schedule though, the teen is simply happy to be doing what he loves.

“I’ve dreamed about having my career at this point for a few years,” Haley expressed. “Now, it’s finally here, things are rolling and I couldn’t be happier. I feel truly blessed and I’m ready to go out and compete for some wins this weekend!”

 

Listen in as we sat down to talk with J.J. on last night’s Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show about his upcoming ARCA debut at Toledo, his Springport victory and his 2014 season to date:

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