April 27, 2024 | By Brandon White, ARCARacing.com

Connor Zilisch captures first ARCA win at Dover

DOVER, Del. — An impressive resume for Connor Zilisch now includes a victory at Dover Motor Speedway.

The young phenom had to survive an eventful day at the Monster Mile that saw numerous contenders plagued by on-track issues. Zilisch persevered through the chaos to prevail in Friday’s General Tire 150 and obtain his maiden ARCA Menards Series win.

For Zilisch, the Monster Mile more than lived up to its reputation in his first visit to the historic facility. Bringing home a checkered flag required Zilisch to overcome his own trepidation and utilize all the knowledge he possessed to charge towards the front.

“I can’t even lie, during those first 70 laps I was pretty intimidated,” Zilisch said. “The car was free, but we were sitting under red on the back straightaway and I was like ‘damn, I just need to get on the gas’.”

Zilisch has racked up more accomplishments in 2024 alone that most veteran competitors have experienced throughout their careers.

The year opened with Zilisch helping lead Era Motorsport to an LMP2 class victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona. He kept the momentum going in his next endurance event with Era Motorsport at the 12 Hours of Sebring, which concluded with Zilisch picking up another LMP2 triumph.

Efficiency has followed Zilisch into oval racing. He earned his first CARS Tour victory with Pinnacle Racing Group at Hickory Motor Speedway in April and arrived at Dover looking to build more momentum with the organization.

Zilisch’s outing at Dover was far from a smooth process. He initially struggled to find quality track position during the first half of the General Tire 150, but found himself on the front row for a restart after adjusting during a race break.

As he battled William Sawalich hard for the lead, Zilisch made slight contact with the defending ARCA Menards Series champion that sent him into the outside retaining wall. With Sawalich out of the race, Zilisch worked the clean air to his advantage and faced no significant challenge until the checkered flag waved.

Overcoming adversity at Dover capped off a great week for Zilisch. He was confirmed to three additional NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races with Spire Motorsports, adding to a busy schedule that will also include NASCAR Xfinity Series starts with JR Motorsports.

Zilisch, who is a Trackhouse Racing development driver, knew that Friday’s win would not have been possible without all the assistance PRG provided in the weeks leading up to the General Tire 150. Still only 17 years old, Zilisch has plenty of time to learn and build upon his rapidly growing list of achievements.

“Derek Kneeland on the spotter’s stand and Shane Huffman on the pit box did a great job keeping me in it,” Zilisch said. “I was down on myself running fifth or sixth and couldn’t make up any ground. I’m so thankful for this entire team and everyone at Chevrolet.

“Those restarts were hectic, but we kept it up front and got ourselves a win at the Monster Mile.”

Finishing behind Zilisch in second was Gio Ruggiero, who led early in the General Tire 150 but had to rebound from a restart penalty. Carson Kvapil, Zilisch’s teammate, also fell behind after sustaining a flat tire but still managed to settle for a strong third place run.

Rev Racing teammates Lavar Scott and Andres Perez place fourth and fifth respectively. Kris Wright, Andy Jankowiak, Greg Van Alst, Caleb Costner and Zachary Tinkle rounded out the top 10.

The ARCA Menards Series is back in action next weekend with the Tide 150 at Kansas Speedway, which will commence at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon on FS1.

Following Kansas will be the next event on the ARCA Menards Series East calendar, which takes place at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on May 11. The green flag will wave at 9:35 p.m. ET on FloRacing.


RESULTS

Pos. Car No.  Driver Sponsor, OEM Laps Diff.
1 28 Connor Zilisch * Chevrolet/Silver Hare Development Chevrolet 150
2 20 Giovanni Ruggiero * JBL Toyota 150 0.986
3 82 Carson Kvapil * Chevrolet Performance Chevrolet 150 2.005
4 6 Lavar Scott * Max Siegel Inc Chevrolet 150 3.205
5 2 Andres Perez Max Siegel Inc Chevrolet 150 3.535
6 15 Kris Wright FNB Corporation Toyota 150 8.937
7 73 Andy Jankowiak Galactic Acres Toyota 150 13.189
8 35 Greg Van Alst Holzerman General Contracting Window/Door Ford 150 19.321
9 93 Caleb Costner * Strapinno Chevrolet 147 3 Laps
10 11 Zachary Tinkle Racing for Rescues/Fast Track Toyota 144 6 Laps
11 39 D.L. Wilson Heart O’ Texas Speedway/ETR Toyota 144 6 Laps
12 06 Cody Dennison * ALL CAPS Comics Toyota 142 8 Laps
13 10 Ed Pompa Infinity Aggregates LLC/Double H Ranch Ford 141 9 Laps
14 99 Michael Maples * Don Ray Petroleum LLC/Maples Motorsports Chevrolet 140 10 Laps
15 25 Toni Breidinger VMS Toyota 137 13 Laps
16 55 Brent Crews * Mobil 1 Toyota 117 33 Laps
17 18 William Sawalich * Starkey/Sound Gear Toyota 108 42 Laps
18 03 Alex Clubb Race Parts Liquidators Ford 96 54 Laps
19 17 Marco Andretti * Group 1001/MMI Chevrolet 89 61 Laps
20 22 Amber Balcaen Icon Technologies Toyota 74 76 Laps
21 32 Christian Rose West Virginia Department of Tourism Ford 74 76 Laps
22 42 Tanner Reif Vegas Fastener Manufacturing/MMI Chevrolet 65 85 Laps
23 31 Rita Goulet NationalPolice.org/Max Buchanan Foundation Chevrolet 35 115 Laps
24 12 Mike Basham NASCAR Technical Institute Toyota 4 146 Laps

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