Two former team members have been sued by the race team; The lawsuit alleges they stole team information before resigning
Venturini Motorsports is suing two of their former employees. They allege that they stole setup secrets from the ARCA Menards Series team.
Frank Kimmel served as a crew chief for the team in 2019. The other former team member listed in the suit is Griffin Rider. The lawsuit was filed in North Carolina Business Court.
“Just before terminating their employment with VMS, both defendants engaged in a scheme designed to steal VMS’ most sensitive intellectual property,” court documents read.
The ‘most sensitive intellectual property’ of any race team relates to setup and trade secrets within the team. Which VMS is claims was stolen.
Frank Kimmel vs Venturini Motorsports
On December 16, 2019, Senior management for the team left the building and went to a wind tunnel test. During that time, surveillance video shows Frank Kimmel walked onto the shop floor and took photographs underneath race cars.
On December 18th, 2019, Kimmel resigned from the team. Kimmel left the team and signed with KBR Development as the general manage, a competing ARCA Racing Series team. That announcement was made by the team on December 20th.
The surveillance video allegedly shows several flash bulbs go off from a cell phone that Kimmel held.
“Upon information and belief, Kimmel was documenting the unique suspension components and setup developed by VMS through wind tunnel and pull down machine testing for aerodynamic and handling advantages.”
On January 24, 2020, a judge ordered Kimmel to return any photographs and/or video that was taken that day in the team shop. He was also required to submit his entire phone for evidence.
Venturini Motorsports has requested a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in addition to damages seeking $25,000.
Frank Kimmel is a 10-time ARCA Racing Series champion. He has 80 career victories to his name after 503 starts. His last race as a driver took place in 2016.
Griffin Rider vs Venturini Motorsports
Venturini Motorsports alleges that Griffin Rider downloaded setup information onto a USB drive. That information was collected from a team computer.
This incident took place on the same day of Kimmel’s. While senior management was away from the office.
The lawsuit states that surveillance video shows Rider collect a crew chief’s computer directly from the setup area of the shop.
The computer was then carried out of the building, into the team parking lot and into an unlocked team hauler. Rider spent 11 minutes inside the hauler with the computer.
The computer was wrapped in a seat cover. It was then returned to it’s original location within the setup area of the race shop.
Clark Walton ran analysis on the computer. He noted that a USB drive was plugged into the computer for 11 minutes on Dec. 16. He also stated that his analysis shows the files and folders that were opened and copied to the drive.
Rider resigned from VMS on December 19, three days after the alleged violation.
Venturini Motorsports is a dominating force in the ARCA Racing Series. The team won 14 of 20 events in 2019 as they took home the title with driver Christian Eckes.