March 9, 2024 | By Brandon White, ARCARacing.com

Sawalich earns redemption with rain-shortened ARCA victory at Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz. — A late-race spin from the lead at Phoenix Raceway last March prevented William Sawalich from winning in his ARCA Menards Series debut.

The reigning ARCA Menards East Series champion earned redemption in Friday’s General Tire 150 by putting together a typically efficient run from the pole. A thunderstorm descending upon one-mile tri-oval with less than 40 laps remaining forced ARCA officials to call the race early, handing Sawalich the win.

Sawalich felt Phoenix owed him a victory after he came so close to prevailing in his first race with Joe Gibbs Racing one year ago. While he would have preferred to settle the outcome on track, Sawalich was more than grateful to celebrate with his team in Victory Lane regardless of the circumstances.

“Not the way I wanted to win a race, but I knew we had the best car out there,” Sawalich said. “We kind of fell back during that first stint, but the guys made a really good adjustment, so I’m super proud of them doing that. We ran a good race and I knew we had a chance to win it.”

With his triumph on Friday evening, Sawalich is now two for three in ARCA appearances at Phoenix.

Sawalich was untouchable when the ARCA Menards Series West wrapped up its 2023 season around the one-mile oval last November. Leading 93 of 100 possible laps, Sawalich’s victory wrapped up a nearly perfect rookie ARCA campaign that saw him visit Victory Lane seven times across the three divisions.

Just like the West Series finale last year, Sawalich’s closest competition came in the form of a Venturini Motorsports car. This time it was Gio Ruggiero, who was making his ARCA Menards Series national debut.

Ruggiero managed to chase down Sawalich during the longest green flag run of the evening before trading blows with him on several successive restarts. Sawalich gained the upper hand after the halfway break, with Ruggiero being forced to settle for second when rain brought the General Tire 150 to a premature end.

Facing Sawalich will be a common theme for Ruggiero throughout his rookie ARCA campaign. His busy schedule includes running all eight events in the East Series, where he will look to dethrone Sawalich as the champion.

Following Ruggiero in third was NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series veteran Grant Enfinger, who was making his first West Series appearance as part of Friday’s combination event. Connor Mosack and defending West Series champion Sean Hingorani completed the top-five.

In her ARCA Menareds Series debut, Isabella Robusto finished sixth after climbing to as high as third during the night. Jack Wood, Andres Perez, Toni Breidinger and Lavar Scott rounded out the top-10.

The ARCA Menards Series gets a month-long break before returning to action at Talladega Superspeedway for the General Tire 200 on April 20, which will be televised live on FS1 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

The ARCA Menards Series returns to action with the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame 150 presented by NAPA Auto Parts at California’s Irwindale Speedway on March 30. That event will be available live excessively on FloRacing.


RACE RESULTS

Pos. Car No. Driver Sponsor, OEM Laps Diff.
1 18 William Sawalich* Starkey/Sound Gear Toyota 115 —
2 20 Gio Ruggiero* JBL Toyota 115 0.781
3 23 Grant Enfinger GMS Fabrication/SPS/Allegiant Airlines Chevrolet 115 1.276
4 28 Connor Mosack* Chevrolet Performance Toyota 115 2.075
5 61 Sean Hingorani* Fidelity Capital Toyota 115 2.894
6 55 Isabella Robusto* Mobil 1 Toyota 115 3.729
7 16 Jack Wood NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet 115 4.209
8 2 Andres Perez Max Siegal Inc Chevrolet 115 5.057
9 25 Toni Breidinger Raising Cane’s Toyota 115 5.658
10 6 Lavar Scott* Max Siegel Inc Chevrolet 115 6.295
11 13 Tyler Rief Central Coast Cabinets Toyota 115 7.357
12 15 Kris Wright FNB Corporation Toyota 115 8.237
13 35 Greg Van Alst Prescott Tire Pros Ford 115 9.067
14 42 Tanner Reif Vegas Fastner MAFG/MMI Sunwest Coast Chevrolet 115 10.097
15 22 Amber Balcaen ICON Direct Toyota 115 10.971
16 32 Christian Rose West Virgina Department of Tourism Ford 115 14.546
17 50 Trevor Huddleston High Point Racing/Racecar Factory Ford 115 14.547
18 70 Kyle Keller Setting The Stage/Battle Born/Argus Construction Ford 115 20.28
19 3 Todd Souza Central Coast Cabinets Toyota 114 1 Lap
20 19 Eric Jonhson Jr.* Pacific Office Automation Chevrolet 114 1 Lap
21 17 Marco Andretti* Group 100/MMI Sunwest Coast Chevrolet 114 1 Lap
22 1 Robbie Kennealy* Setting The Stage/American Swin/Wiley X Ford 114 1 Lap
23 7 Takuma Koga* Yamada Toyota 114 1 Lap
24 34 Issac Johnson* IAC/Endress+Hauser Ford 113 2 Laps
25 93 Caleb Costner* Strapino Chevrolet 112 3 Laps
26 71 Nick Joanides Jan’s Towing Ford 112 3 Laps
27 73 Andy Jankowiak Galactic Acres Toyota 111 4 Laps
28 12 Ryan Roulette* VFW-Bellator Recruiting Academy Ford 105 10 Laps
29 99 Michael Maples* Don Ray Petroleum LLC Chevrolet 105 10 Laps
30 03 Alex Clubb Yabapai Bottle Gas/Race Parts Liquidators Ford 62 53 Laps
31 88 Jake Bollman* Pacific Coast Propane Ford 58 57 Laps
32 05 David Smith Shockwave Marine Suspension Seating Toyota 54 61 Laps
33 41 John Borneman III Tilly’s/Stoney’s Ford 52 63 Laps
34 63 John Aramendia* First Call Plumbing Heating & Air Chevrolet 34 81 Laps
35 24 Joe Farre* SPS/Fisher Industries/American Eagle Ready Mix Chevrolet 32 83 Laps
36 27 Bobby Hillils Jr. Camping World/First Impression Press Chevrolet 24 91 Laps
37 10 Brayton Laster* CarAggio Motorsports Ford 17 98 Laps
38 11 Brad Perez Sebetka Bail Bonds Ford 14 101 Laps
39 77 Cody Kiemele* King Taco/Toyota of Redlands Burgesons Htg & Air Toyota 0 115 Laps
40 07 Danica Dart* Evers Farms/Pioneer Performance/Ebco Construction Chevrolet 0 115 Laps

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