Race Weekend Central

ARCA Preview: General Tire 150 at Phoenix

The ARCA Menards Series is set to roll into the Phoenix Raceway this Friday evening for round two of the 2024 schedule. 

The race will run in conjunction with the ARCA Menards Series West schedule, which uses the race as its 2024 season opener. 

The event’s preliminary entry list has 43 cars entered for the race, which is up considerably from the 2023 total of 32. The expanded entry list means that three cars will miss the race. It’ll be the fifth time the main series goes to Phoenix, the first back in 2020, with former winners including Chandler Smith, Ty Gibbs and Taylor Gray

In last year’s edition of the race, Tyler Reif used a late restart to pass Landen Lewis for the win, the first and only win to date for the now 16-year-old. The 160-lap race saw 13 different cautions for 78 laps. 

Not among those 43 cars entered is Daytona International Speedway winner Gus Dean, though the Venturini Motorsports No. 55 is. Isabella Robusto will be making her ARCA debut in the entry, which will carry sponsorship from Mobil 1. The 19-year-old Robusto was slated to make her series debut last year, but her plans were derailed after a concussion sustained in a late model crash. 

Three other drivers will join Robusto in making their series debut, including Danica Dart, Garrett Zacharias and Joe Farre, with Farre and Dart being West series competitors. 

See also
Entry List: 2024 General Tire 150

Venturini Motorsports will see another change to their driver lineup as well, as Gio Ruggiero will replace Jake Finch in the No. 20 for the week. Ruggiero has one previous ARCA start under his belt, a fourth-place finish at Nashville last year in the East series, also driving for VMS. Robusto and Ruggiero will join the team’s full-time drivers Toni Breidinger, Amber Balcaen and Kris Wright.

As for Breidinger, she’ll carry sponsorship from popular fast food chain Raising Cane’s, the first time since Kansas Speedway last September that the company acted as the primary sponsor, rather than just an associate. The company recently rolled out a promotion featuring Breidinger’s likeness inside their restaurants across the country.

Entered for his first race of 2024 will be reigning East series champion William Sawalich. Sawalich has yet to reach the minimum age of 18 to run larger tracks, making Phoenix the first he was eligible to run. The 17-year-old ran Phoenix last season, finishing 13th, marking his worst career series finish to date despite winning the pole and leading the most laps. The Minnesota-born driver has 20 races scheduled this season across all three ARCA platforms. 

Cook Racing Technologies will have two cars entered for the event, as former IndyCar driver Marco Andretti returns for his second consecutive race in the No. 17, joining Tanner Reif in the No. 42. Andretti has four previous starts at Phoenix, three of which came in an open-wheel car. He finished 35th in the Craftsman Truck Series season finale at the track last November. 

Greg Van Alst will bring two cars to the track for the second consecutive race, as he will pilot his familiar No. 35, and Isaac Johnson will return to the No. 34. Van Alst finished third at Daytona last month and is coming off of a 10th-place finish at Phoenix last season. As for Johnson, the 23-year-old is making his third career ARCA start and first at Phoenix. He finished 18th at Daytona.

Reigning West series champion Sean Hingorani will make his first start of 2024 this season, and with a new team. The 17-year-old will run the No. 61 for Hattori Racing Enterprises at Phoenix, rather than VMS, the team he spent all of 2023 driving for. He’ll carry sponsorship from Fidelity Capital for the event and is scheduled to make more starts with the team throughout all three ARCA platforms this season. 

Former ARCA champion and current Craftsman Truck Series regular Grant Enfinger is also entered for the race, driving the No. 23 for Sigma Performance Services. Enfinger ran two ARCA races last season for CR7 Motorsports, finishing inside of the top five at both Charlotte Motor Speedway and The Milwaukee Mile.

Connor Mosack returns to the series this week as well, as he will be driving the No. 28 for the Pinnacle Racing Group. The team ran Daytona with Shane Van Gisbergen and will partner with Mosack for the first time at Phoenix. Mosack found victory lane last September at Kansas Speedway while driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.  

See also
Only Yesterday: Jeff Gordon Reaches a Milestone in the Desert

Lastly, Fast Track Racing will roll out a pair of new drivers from Daytona, as Brad Perez will slot into the No. 11 and Brayton Laster into the No. 10. Laster made three starts for the team in 2023, and is coming off a DNQ at Daytona with MAN Motorsports. As for Perez, it’ll be his second career ARCA start, with the first coming at Watkins Glen International back in 2021 with Josh Williams Motorsports, where he finished 24th. Laster will carry sponsorship from CarAggio Motorsports, and Perez from Sebetka Bail Bonds. 

The two other Fast Track entries remain the same from Daytona, as Ryan Roulette returns to the No. 12, and full-time driver Michael Maples in the No. 99 

The action kicks off Friday afternoon with a 45-minute practice session, followed by a 20-minute qualifying session starting at 3:30 p.m. ET, which is not televised. The green flag for the General Tire 150 is set to fly shortly after 8 p.m. ET that evening, with television coverage provided by FS1. 

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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