Gus Dean Looks to Continuing Winning Ways During Speedweek at Daytona International Speedway

Gus Dean Looks to Continuing Winning Ways During Speedweek at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.: No matter what happens, it’s already been a good week for Gus Dean.

On Sunday, February 11, 2024, while most of the world was engaged in the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, Dean participated in night three of the World Series of Asphalt competition at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway.

Back behind the wheel of a Super Late Model in three years, Dean started off his Speedweek on the right foot with a top-10 finish on Friday night at the notable half-mile oval, but Dean’s dominating performance on Sunday night turned heads.

Aboard his No. 57 DLP Motorsports | Dean Custom Air Toyota Camry, Dean qualified seventh but took advantage of the redraw and lined his Super Late Model outside the front row. At the drop of the green, Dean battled Derek Griffith for the race lead before taking the lead on Lap 2 and never looking back.

Not even a late-race caution could be enough to stall Dean’s momentum. On the restart, the Bluffton, S.C. native sped away from the competition and cruised to the victory.

Dean, 29, fought back tears as he dedicated the victory to his late Grandfather, a pivotal figure in his Motorsports career.

“I lost my best friend, my granddad, a little more than two weeks ago, and that’s been really hard,” Dean said in Victory Lane. “He didn’t miss a single race. He would tell me before every race to be there at the end and get what I could.

“We got what we could tonight. I know he was riding with me. It feels good. It feels really good.”

With a checkered flag to his credit at New Smyrna, Dean will shift his concentration to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway later this week, where he hopes to bookend his week with his third career ARCA Menards Series victory in Saturday afternoon’s Hard Rock Bet 200.

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 and is considered one of the prerace favorites.

“There are no words to describe what winning Saturday afternoon’s race at Daytona would mean to me,” explained Dean. “We have been trying forever to win this race, and I know a guardian angel is watching me from above and guiding me. He was with me on Sunday night at New Smyrna, and I know he’ll be with me again.”

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.”

Dean knows what it takes to win on a superspeedway and armed with four Venturini Motorsports teammates; he knows that teamwork makes the dream work.

“Jake (Finch), Amber (Balcaen), Toni (Breidinger) and Kris (Wright) will all have fast cars. We will work together and help each other if the opportunity allows. I’m more determined than ever this year, and I hope I have paid my dues and it’s my turn on Saturday afternoon.”

In 2024, Dean will compete in at least 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.

Added Dean, “The Venturini Motorsports team 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.”

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 2024 a successful one.”

In final ARCA practice, Dean maneuvered the seventh fastest of the 49 entries that took time.

For more on Venturini Motorsports, please visit, like them on Facebook (Venturini Motorsports), and follow them on Instagram (@venturinimotorsports) and X |Twitter (@VenturiniMotor).

For more on Gus Dean, please visit, like him on Facebook (Gus Dean Racing) and follow him on Instagram and Twitter (@GusDean).

The Hard Rock Bet 200 (80 laps | 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2024 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Group qualifying is set for Fri., Feb. 16, at 1:30 p.m. The season-opener for the 72nd consecutive ARCA season is set for the following afternoon on Feb. 17 to take the green flag shortly after 1:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM channel 391 | online channel 981) handling the radio waves. will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities.

About Venturini Motorsports:

Venturini Motorsports (VMS) is a highly touted fixture in the ARCA Racing Series, having claimed 99 ARCA victories and, most recently, the 2023 ARCA Championship and 2023 ARCA West Championships. The Concord, N.C.-based VMS is an official Toyota Racing Development team and is considered one of the early pioneers in NASCAR driver development programs.

VMS has gone onto assist many of the sports’ top driver prospects in pursuit of making it to the highest levels of stock car racing.

The growing list of drivers racing today in one of NASCAR’s top three touring series includes current Toyota drivers Christopher Bell, Chandler Smith, Bubba Wallace, Corey Heim, John Hunter Nemechek and Dean Thompson.

VMS Alumni also include Justin Allgaier, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Harrison Burton, William Byron, Christian Eckes, Todd Gilliland, Justin Haley, Brandon Jones, Erik Jones, Jesse Love, Zane Smith and Daniel Suárez.  


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