Race Weekend Central

William Sawalich Wins 1st ARCA Race at Flat Rock Speedway Since 2000

Despite putting up his worst qualifying effort of the season, William Sawalich won his second ARCA Menards Series East race of the season at Flat Rock Speedway Saturday night (May 20).

The 16-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing driver started the race in the fourth position and didn’t reach the lead until the two-thirds mark, but held Sean Hingorani and the field off from there to win his first race since the season opener at Five Flags Speedway. Sawalich was in position to win the series’ previous race at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, but a last-lap caution forced a one-lap shootout restart, in which he lost the lead, finishing second after leading over 200 laps.

Behind Sawalich, Lavar Scott put up his career-best ARCA finish, finishing second for Rev Racing in the team’s No. 6 Chevrolet. Hingorani put up a career best in his own right, bringing the No. 15 Toyota home in third. 

“The lapped traffic was kind of everywhere, it was hard to get around them,” Hingorani told FloRacing. “I don’t think the [No.] 18 races clean, but it is what it is”

To round out the top five, Hingorani’s team owner Billy Venturini, in his first race since 2007, brought the No. 20 Toyota home in fourth.

Nashville winner Luke Fenhaus crossed the line in fifth.

Zachary Tinkle brought home his No. 11 for Fast Track Racing in sixth position, giving the team its best finish of their four entries in the race. Teammate Tim Monroe finished behind Tinkle in seventh. 

Will Kimmel brought the No. 69 machine home in eighth, with local driver Jeffery MacZink crossing the line in ninth. Derrick McGrew Jr., who spun the race twice in the event, was still able to bring his car home in 10th. 

Hingorani got out to a quick lead on the initial start of the race, holding off Scott who started beside him on the initial start. The first green-flag run of the night was a short one, as McGrew, who made his first pavement start in the race, spun a few laps later to bring out the first caution. 

On lap 8, the restart fell, starting the second green-flag run of the night. Hingorani again extended his lead, with Nashville winner Fenhaus quickly working his way up to second. By lap 33, Fenhaus was on the back bumper of Hingorani, thanks largely in part to heavy lapped traffic, but the caution fell on lap 35 before the battle could heat up further. 

Hingorani held his lead over Fenhaus through the remainder of the first half of the race. Throughout the green-flag run, Fenhaus was within a second off of Hingorani’s lead, even catching his rear bumper when the pair caught heavy lapped traffic. That green-flag run, which ended up lasting roughly 50 laps, ended on lap 91 when McGrew again lost control of his No. 31 Rise Motorsports machine, bringing out the third caution of the night. 

The race restarted again on lap 98, with Hingorani again getting the jump in front of the field, reclaiming the lead. Sawalich quickly got around Fenhaus for second, though the two made contact in the process. It didn’t take Sawalich long to get to Hingorani for the lead, making a successful bump-and-run into turn 1 on lap 101.

The bump moved Hingorani up the racetrack, allowing Sawalich to claim the lead for the first time all night. Hingorani attempted to repay the favor to Sawalich but couldn’t move him up the racetrack, and Sawalich quickly pulled away. 

Sawalich didn’t look back from there, leading the last 50 laps of the race, claiming the first ARCA-sanctioned checkered flag at Flat Rock since 2000, six years before he was born.

ARCA East Results from Flat Rock

Next week, the national division of ARCA will return at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the General Tire 150 on Friday, May 26. That race will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1, with the green flag waving at 6 p.m. ET. As for the ARCA East division, it’ll be nearly two months before teams see the track again. They will return at the Iowa Speedway on July 15.

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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