Saturday, 22 June 2024

William Sawalich scores second win as Flat Rock Speedway welcomes back ARCA Featured

Posted On Wednesday, 24 May 2023 02:46 Written by
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ARCA returned this week to competition at Flat Rock Speedway for the first time since 2000. William Sawalich took his second victory of the season in the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. ARCA returned this week to competition at Flat Rock Speedway for the first time since 2000. William Sawalich took his second victory of the season in the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Photo by Matt Myftiu/

FLAT ROCK, MICHIGAN — The hot streak continues for young William Sawalich, who at 16 has just won his second ARCA Menards Series East win of 2023. He’s the latest young talent driving a No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs, and continues to show he has the talent to succeed at higher levels.

Sawalich started Saturday’s race in 4th position, but was showing speed all race at the quarter-mile track, which hadn’t hosted an ARCA event since the year 2000.

The first 100 laps of the 150-lap event were dominated by Sean Hingorani, another young driver who had claimed the pole for the Flat Rock event, held in front of an enthusiastic crowd that welcomed the return of the series with open arms.

Even with a handful of cars falling out of the 16-car field for various reasons, there was still a lot of lapped traffic to negotiate, eventually taking its toll on Hingorani and allowing his competitors to catch up.

Sawalich passed his rival on lap 102, though Hingorani did not make it easy. Despite some fenders coming together, Sawalich kept the lead and remained there until the checkered flag.

There were also a tough battle in the top 5 between Billy Venturini, who came out of semi-retirement to compete at Flat Rock, and young Luke Fenhaus. Flat Rock is a special place for Venturini, as he was in Victory Lane with his dad as a child back in 1983. Fenhaus was coming off an East series win in Nashville and had another strong run at Flat Rock.

Another driver who impressed was Lavar Scott, who came through the field to finish 2nd behind Sawalich. The race was very quick, taking just 40 minutes to complete.

On the heels of the victory, Sawalich remains in the lead of the ARCA Menards Series East standings, opening a 13-point advantage over his closest competitor.

Fans at Flat Rock Speedway were also treated to a fireworks display after the ARCA race, provided by Venturini Motorsports, and some competitive Street Stock and Figure 8 racing to wrap up the evening.

Some stats of note from the race: 

— Flat Rock was the second checkered flag of the season for William Sawalich, and also his second career win
— Lavar Scott scored his best career series finish by coming in 2nd
— Hingorani came in third, his best career finish in the East series. He also has two wins in the West series this year, and is battling for both titles this year.
Billy Venturini ran his first race in 17 years, and came home in fourth
— Fenhaus claimed his fourth top-five finish of the season
— FIve cars were on the lead lap at the end of the race
Another career-best run came from Zachary Tinkle, who came home in sixth place, first car one lap down, and Tim Monroe, who took seventh
Will Kimmel competed in the race, marking the first entry from a Kimmel family member at Flat Rock Speedway, also known as the “Level Pebble”, since 1979
Michigan-based driver Jeffrey MacZink, from Brownstown Township, finished ninth in his first East appearance
Jeff Smith made his first ARCA Menards Series start at Flat Rock on August 8, 1987, and returned for his second Flat Rock start over 35 years later this weekend
Next for the ARCA Menards Series East is the Calypso Lemonade 150 at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, July 15. The race will be televised live on FS2 starting at 8 pm ET
— The ARCA Menards Series raced at Flat Rock Speedway 56 times from 1953 through 2000. The track’s first races were a pair of 250-lap events, run on the same day, both won by Julian Petty, his only two series victories
Past ARCA winners at Flat Rock Speedway include Bob Hunter, Bill Lutz, Les Snow, Iggy Katona, Bobby Watson, Andy Hampton, Ramo Stott, Ron Hutcherson, A. Arnold, Moose Myers, Bill Green, Bill Kimmel, Jim Cushman, Marvin Smith, Bob Dotter, Lee Raymond, Bobby Jacks, Bill Venturini, Ed Hage, Bob Keselowski, Tracy Leslie, Dave Weltmeyer, Grant Adcox, Bobby Bowsher, Harold Fair, Jeremy Mayfield, Gary Bradberry, Andy Hillenburg, Joe Ruttman, Tim Steele, Frank Kimmel, and Bill Baird

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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