The second ARCA Menards Series and ARCA Menards Series East combination race at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park was quite exciting with clean racing.
Yes, the series points leader won. That is not surprising. What is surprising is how the front runners fared, thereby resulting in a few changes to the Frontstretch ARCA Power Rankings.
1. Jesse Love
Love reached two milestones in his ARCA series career. He made his 40th main series start this past weekend at IRP as well as he now has 75 starts across the ARCA platform. The milestone came with a celebratory burnout.
Only 18 years old, Love already has a stout racing resume. In those 75 starts, he has 15 wins, 42 top fives and 61 top 10s. Additionally, he has two ARCA Menards Series West championships and, barring several races’ misfortune, he will add a third championship ring to his collection.
Of the 40 starts in the national division, Love has nine wins – seven in 2023 – 25 top fives and 35 top 10s. Consider this: he has only finished outside the top 10 in back-to-back starts once: in his first two races.
His growth has been tremendous, and he shows no signs of slowing down. He is the instant favorite for one of the two races this weekend, at Illinois State Fairgrounds, a racetrack where he led every lap en route to victory one year ago.
2. Andres Perez de Lara
Prior to the race, Rev Racing Director of Driver Development Mark Green told Frontstretch that a second full-time season for the team has benefited its short track performance. Short tracks were the venues the team struggled at the most in 2022.
Perez de Lara has two racetracks that will present unique challenges to him. He has never been to Watkins Glen International before, though he finished 15th after starting fifth at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Then comes the unique Springfield Mile. Perez de Lara has already performed well at other various racetracks; I am confident he will quickly learn these two as well.
3. William Sawalich
William Sawalich started second and led one lap.
However, right after he took the lead, Sawalich made contact with the lapped car driven by Zachary Tinkle.
From that point, although Sawalich battled with Love for the lead for many laps, he never retook it. He then slid back to a fourth-place finish.
Sawalich is now tied for the second-most top fives in the main series with five, thereby elevating him one spot in these rankings.
Two races remain in the East season. Sawalich still leads Fenhaus in the standings, though his lead was cut by two points down to nine. Even though Love has a commanding lead in the main series standings, the East battle between Sawalich and Fenhaus could go down to the final few laps at Bristol Motor Speedway.
4. Frankie Muniz
IRP was not Muniz’s best racetrack. He never seemed to gain a good feel at the 0.686-mile short track and wound up a disappointing 11th.
Post-race, Muniz looked tired. Indeed, it was a warm Friday evening. To top it off though, because he is only 5’4”, his No. 30 Ford is fitted for him. What did that mean at IRP? He had to drive the racecar back to the hauler.
Although he has finished worse in previous races in 2023, IRP showed Muniz is still very raw. After all, he is a rookie.
5. Sean Hingorani
Welcome to the top five, Sean Hingorani. The Venturini Motorsports driver is the only one who was chasing two series championships in 2023, albeit his one-race suspension took him out of East title contention.
Hingorani displayed talent at IRP, but also reminded us that he is inexperienced. He raced Scott hard with about 25 laps before the halfway competition caution, but the racing got a little too close.
Venturini Motorsports quickly ensured Hingorani’s No. 15 was ready to go and not only did he rejoin the field, but he also came back fast. He led 21 laps, passed Sawalich and finished exactly where he started: third. It is his third third-place result in his part-time main slate.
The main series will run two races in three days this weekend. The field will go to WGI on Friday (Aug. 18) at 6 p.m. ET, then go to the Springfield Mile on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. FOX Sports 1 will broadcast both races and FloRacing will also broadcast the Springfield Mile event.
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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