2018 SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks runner up Gavin Harlien is ready to take his talents onto asphalt. On Tuesday, he and Venturini Motorsports announced he would make his stock car debut in the ARCA Menards Series in the summer, running a three-race schedule in the team’s #55 Toyota Camry.
“I have been looking for an opportunity like this for a long time,” Harlien stated in a team release. “Taking this next step in my career and moving up into ARCA with a top-notch team like Venturini Motorsports is a dream come true. Now I’m just eager to start the journey and learn as much as I can in my first few races.
Harlien has competed in SST since 2014, including full time since 2017, with 52 career starts and 21 podium finishes. In 2018, he recorded his first win at Long Beach in a five-win campaign that saw him finish second in points to Matt Brabham. He opened the 2019 season at Circuit of the Americas with eighth- and fourth-place runs.
The Arizona native also raced in other off-road competitions like TORC: The Off Road Championship and the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.
“There might not be any metal ramps out on the front straightaway, but I’m just excited to go fast. Growing up racing off road and SST the last few years has made me a very aggressive yet, methodical driver. The trucks require a lot of throttle and car control so I think the most important thing for me will just be adapting to the car and finding speed anywhere I can.”
With the announcement, Harlien is following in the footsteps of another SST star: two-time series champion Sheldon Creed won the 2018 ARCA title and currently races in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
“Watching Sheldon make the transition and win the ARCA Championship was awesome,” Harlien commented. “Seeing the success he’s had the past couple years gives me confidence since we come from the same background and have been battling on the track for years.
“His advice for me going in to this was all about being patient with the car and my progression. Now it’s my time to see if I can replicate that success and make a name for myself.”
Harlien’s first ARCA start will be on 22 June at Gateway Motorsports Park, followed by later attempts at Iowa Speedway and Salem Speedway.