Race Weekend Central

Greg Van Alst Wins Daytona for 1st Career ARCA Victory

Entering the 2023 ARCA Menards Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway, Greg Van Alst knew he had a fast No. 35.

On Saturday (Feb. 18), he showed it. The 41-year-old passed Canadian Jason White on the last lap and scored his first career ARCA victory.

Van Alst was so confident in his No. 35 racecar that he opted to leave the ARCA preseason test at Daytona a day early. His faith in his racecar paid dividends as the Indiana native scored his first win in his second full-time season.

“It’s everything I got,” an emotional Van Alst told FOX Sports 1. “This is the only superspeedway car we got, there was no way I was going to bring it home without the steering wheel and trophy and that was it. This is for all the short track racers out there that don’t think you can get to this level. I’ve worked my ass off to get here and we did it.”

Polesitter Connor Mosack rebounded from a spin to finish second.

Sean Corr, Lavar Scott and Mandy Chick finished third through fifth, respectively. All three drivers earned their career-best ARCA finishes.

See also
Friday NASCAR Daytona Notebook: Jimmie Johnson Hopeful, Small Teams Have Big Plans

Venturini Motorsports won five straight ARCA races at Daytona, but the team didn’t display race-winning speed for most of the 80-lap race. Amber Balcaen and Jesse Love were the highest-running drivers for the team in sixth and seventh, respectively.

Jack Wood, White and Dale Quarterley comprised the rest of the top 10.

At the 2.5-mile superspeedway, there were seven cautions, although The Big One never really ensued.

The chaos started within the first 10 laps when Scott Melton received a bump draft gone wrong from Bryce Haugeberg. Melton crashed out of the ARCA race, his second straight DNF at a superspeedway as he was injured in the 2022 event at Talladega Superspeedway.

“It’s absolutely stupid,” Melton said. “It’s insane. Lap six, seven, what’s the point? He hit me three times. First time it was straight up, second time it was a bit in the … left rear … . Third time he hooked me straight into the wall. Six or seven laps in, my crew have busted their butts for a year to put that car together, man. We’ve worked four years to get here to be up front where we belong. We finally got a car that’s running [well] and somebody on lap six or lap seven … I’m speechless.

“Up front, it’s a little bit crazy but that’s just the nature of the beast here. I mean, with so much air, things happen really fast but you need to know how to run not people over. I’m very frustrated.”

Then with about 10 laps to go until the competition caution at lap 40, the field passed lapped AJ Moyer. However, everyone driving to avoid him caused Love and Tim Richmond to spin, with Richmond receiving the worst damage as he wound up with a 36th-place DNF.

“Lot of aggressive driving, I think the No. 20 [Love] got turned,” Richmond said. “I haven’t fully watched a replay but I know we had cars on my outside, being in the inside lane there, so tried to get down but just didn’t work out for us.”
Actor-turned-ARCA driver Frankie Muniz finished 11th in his series debut. Muniz paced the field in the lone practice session, but he started 16th. He wheeled his No. 30 into the top 10 at one point. However, an incident involving him and Andy Jankowiak caused Muniz’s Rette Jones Racing pit crew to repair the car, forcing Muniz to drive back up through the field.

Curiously, during one of the caution flag periods, Ed Pompa spun his No. 10. He then struggled to get his racecar turned around, even causing the TV broadcasters to question what happened. Pompa came home on the lead lap in 22nd place.

ARCA Results from Daytona

After racing at Daytona, ARCA next heads to Phoenix Raceway. The second event on the ARCA circuit is a combination race with the ARCA Menards Series West. It will take place on Friday, March 10 at 8 p.m. ET with TV coverage provided by FOX Sports 2 and available on FloRacing.

About the author

Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.

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Butch ryan

Great job Greg he had a fast car

WoodChuck Charlie

“Congratulation Greg” on an amazing win today!
My name is WoodChuck Charlie.
I grew up in LaPorte Indiana, in a racing family, through the late 60’s thru 70’s as a young boy. It was Friday, Saturday, and Sunday racing every weekend for years.
At one point we ran the ASA Circuit which at that point was the best short track circuit in the country, which took us to Anderson Speedway one Friday Night which was a 3 1/2 hr drive to get there, only to have our car break in practice which ended or night…Bad Night but that’s racing, and to run at that level then, was extremely expensive, and to be competitive you couldn’t do it without a big time sponsor or have deep pockets yourself!
My hats off to Greg Van Alst on his amazing win today and he said it best,” This one is for all the short track racers who think they can’t race at this level!”
“Congratulations Greg” once again! You truly deserve it and you are an inspiration to so many drivers who are trying to accomplish exactly what you accomplished today and I wish many more days like today my friend!
We Smallies are SO PROUD of you,and never loose that excitement or love for this amazing sport!
One last thing… if you never win another race, your dream came true winning the Greatest Race of All Time…DAYTONA!!!🏁

Joe F

Way to go, cuz. You’ve lived this for so long. You earned it the hard way! Awesome!

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