Race Weekend Central

William Sawalich Earns Pole for ARCA East Season Opener at Five Flags

William Sawalich will begin the 2023 ARCA Menards Series East season much like he started the ARCA Menards Series West season: from the pole position.

Sawalich and his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 crew captured the pole for the first race of the East season at Five Flags Speedway. The 16-year-old from Minnesota also captured the pole at Phoenix Raceway a few weeks ago to kick off the West season. Sawalich is now two for two when qualifying for the pole in his ARCA career. 

Sharing the front row with Sawalich will be Jake Finch, who is making his second start for Venturini Motorsports in the No. 20. His first start came at Pocono Raceway last year when he finished seventh. 

Luke Fenhaus will start his first career ARCA race in the third position, driving the No. 28 for Pinnacle Racing Group. The 17-year-old has, however, made an SRX start, when he finished runner-up at Slinger Speedway in Wisconsin. 

ARCA’s most recent winner, Tyler Reif, will start beside him on row two from fourth. Reif is one of two drivers, the other being Sean Hingorani, who will attempt to drive full time in both the East and West series. 

Lavar Scott piloted his No. 6 for Rev Racing to a fifth-place starting spot for the 100-lap event, rounding out the top five. Scott has one previous ARCA start, coming at Daytona International Speedway to kick off the 2023 season. He finished fourth in that event.

One driver who did not take a lap in this qualifying session was Brad Smith. Smith withdrew his No. 48 following practice, meaning only 15 cars will take the green flag.

Dale Shearer also did not take a lap in his No. 98 in either practice or qualifying in his first ARCA series event since the 2019 event at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

The green flag for this evening’s Pensacola 200 from Five Flags is set to wave shortly after 8 p.m. ET and can only be watched on FloRacing.


About the author

Josh joined Frontstretch in 2023 and currently covers the ARCA Menards Series. Born and raised in Missouri, Josh has been watching motorsports since 2005. He currently is studying for a Mass Communication degree at Lindenwood University

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