All season across the ARCA Menards Series, it’s felt like we’ve focused on two drivers, and the 2023 season finale at Toledo was no different as both William Sawalich and Jeese Love took home hardware after the Shore Lunch 200 at Toledo.
It was a back-and-forth battle between the No. 18 and No. 20 all race long, with both swapping the point throughout the event, but it was the Eden Prarie, MN native who took home his fourth ARCA Menards Series win in the 2023 season.
“I was calm, cool, and collected. I think that’s the best thing I could have done in that situation. We navigated that pretty well, and the racecar was on rails,” Sawalich said post-race.
“Really good teamwork, really good execution all year,” he added.
While he and the Joe Gibbs Racing team cheered another trophy, just down the front stretch was another party, as Jesse Love and his No. 20 from Venturini Motorsports team celebrated the 2023 ARCA Menards Series owners title. The team’s first since 2019, doubling down with the driver’s championship with Love.
“It means a lot… I was a lot different of a person from when I first got the Venturini than I am now. He (Billy Venturini) sat me down and said, ‘You’re gonna be a lot different than when you got here,’ and I’m just grateful to be a part of it,” the champ said in victory lane. It was emotionally charged for both he and team owner Bill Venturini.
“I hate it because he’s leaving. He’s part of the family. Like I told him, don’t ever think you’re not part of it,” Bill said about his driver.
Love’s teammate Sean Hingorani, Rev Racing’s Anders Perez de Lara, and AM Racing’s Christian Rose rounded out the top five behind the two champions.
It wasn’t all the best for all the VMS cars. Contact with 55 laps to go, between Dylan ‘Mamba’ Smith in the VMS No. 15 and the No. 73 of Andy Jankowiak sent both into a slide into the outside wall. Moments after coming to a stop, Jon Garrett in the No. 66 couldn’t react in time and slammed into the right rear of the 15.
Here’s a replay of the three car wreck. Some big hits taken.
— spooky ben branscum 🎃👻 (@BrBranscum43) October 7, 2023
While Smith and Jankowiak continued and finished ninth and seventh respectfully, Garrett’s top-ten run would end early with a 15th-place finish.
Toledo featured some stellar runs for a few drivers to cap off their seasons. Making his ARCA debut, Mason Ludwig came home in sixth. Frankie Muniz was able to help right the ship finally and came home in eighth. Also, it was a career day for Stephanie Moyer, who got her first career top ten.
|5||32||Christian Rose||199||1 laps||Running||39|
|6||63||Mason Ludwig||198||2 laps||Running||38|
|7||73||Andy Jankowiak||197||3 laps||Running||37|
|8||30||Frankie Muniz||196||4 laps||Running||36|
|9||15||Dylan Smith||195||5 laps||Running||35|
|10||12||Stephanie Moyer||187||13 laps||Running||34|
|11||03||Alex Clubb||183||17 laps||Running||33|
|12||11||Darrell Basham||180||20 laps||Running||32|
|13||06||Nate Moeller||177||23 laps||Running||31|
|14||31||Rita Goulet||153||47 laps||Mechanical||30|
|15||66||Jon Garrett||141||59 laps||Accident||29|
|16||48||Brad Smith||45||155 laps||Mechanical||28|
|17||69||Mike Basham||11||189 laps||Mechanical||27|
|18||10||Tim Monroe||5||195 laps||Mechanical||26|