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William Sawalich Leads Wire-to-Wire to Score Win in ARCA East Debut at Five Flags

William Sawalich win Five Flags Speedway 2023 ARCA East
William Sawalich win Five Flags Speedway 2023 ARCA East
William Sawalich scored the win after leading every lap in his ARCA Menards Series East debut at Five Flags Speedway. Screengrab: FloRacing broadcast

The box score will show that William Sawalich led every lap from the pole of Saturday night’s ARCA Menards Series East season-opening race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. However, it wasn’t a cakewalk for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

Sawalich had to deal with challenges from two top contenders over the course of the race — Jake Finch in the opening half of the event and Luke Fenhaus in the second half — but despite constant pressure, Sawalich never relented on his path to victory in his series debut.

Following the strong debut race, the 16-year-old gave all thanks to his race team and sponsors.

“I can’t thank this Joe Gibbs Racing team enough,” Sawlich said. “They brought a fast Toyota Camry here, and can’t thank SoundGear Starkey and TRD enough. Just want to thank all of my supporters and it was a fun race thanks to my competitors.”

With the perfect start to his ARCA Menards Series East campaign, Sawalich believes the championship is very much in his grasp.

“I think the championship is in play with how good that race was for us,” Sawalich said. “I think we can try to dominate everywhere we go.”

Following Sawalich to the finish line was Fenhaus, who emerged as the biggest threat to Sawalich’s victory in the closing laps, in second.

Jake Finch, who showed strength early in the race, faded to a third-place finish and came home 14.153 seconds behind race-winner Sawalich.

After Saturday’s season-opener, Sawalich carries a seven-point lead over Fenhaus.

ARCA Menards Series East Pensacola 200 Race Results

PosNo.DriverLapsDiffBest Lap
118William Sawalich200--18.046
228Luke Fenhaus2001.16918.422
320Jake Finch20014.15318.311
415Sean Hingorani19917.18318.194
56Lavar Scott1991 lap18.398
641Tyler Reif1981 lap18.426
711Zachary Tinkle1945 laps18.680
895Tanner Arms1936 laps18.594
946RJ Smotherman1936 laps18.560
1010Ed Pompa18712 laps19.322
1112Tim Monroe37162 laps19.036
1201Dallas Frueh22177 laps19.631
1306Nate Moeller3196 laps21.631
1498Dale Shearer0199 laps0.000
1531Rita GouletDNS--0.000
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