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‘On the Hauler’: Looking Back on the ARCA East Season Opener at Five Flags Speedway

A general view during the Pensacola 200 for the ARCA Menards Series East in Pensacola, Florida on March 25, 2023. (Adam Glanzman/ARCA Racing)

As we roll into April, all three divisions of the ARCA Menards Series are in full swing after the East Series season opener at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola. While a field of only 15 cars, there are still some narratives to look at for the ARCA East Series.

Sawalich Shines

After a disappointing ending to his ARCA Menards Series debut at Phoenix a few weeks back, William Sawalich came out and showed the field what he has for them. Taking the pole, leading every lap, and taking the win by over a second, the 16-year-old took home his first ARCA Series win and took the field to school. While he struggled some at Phoenix, it’s safe to say this probably isn’t the last we’ve seen him win this season, at least in ARCA East. 

Finch and Fenhaus Flex Their Muscles

While William Sawalich took home the trophy on the night, Jake Finch and Luke Fenhaus both showed up at Five Flags Speedway and showed off their talents.

While neither driver was able to lead a lap or get around the No. 18, both were consistent and able to keep Sawalich in sight for the win. Finch, driving the No. 20 for Venturini Motorsports, was able to finish third, marking his second top-five finish in the ARCA Menards Series East. A regular and track champion at Five Flags, the 17-year-old put his talent behind the wheel on display.

Fenhaus, driving the No. 28 Chevrolet SS for Pinnacle Racing Group, was the real surprise though, coming out strong with a runner-up finish in his first event under the ARCA Menards Series sanction. A champion of the CARS Tour Pro Late Model division and 2021 Slinger Track Champion, Fenhaus will look to continue his momentum at Dover on April 28.

Topsy-Turvy Start to 2023 for Sean Hingorani

While it was only a fourth-place finish on the night, it was also a step in the right direction for Sean Hingorani and the No. 15 Toyota Camry after a disappointing start to the 2023 season.

The 16-year-old is running for both the ARCA East and ARCA West titles this season, and after a 16th-place finish at Phoenix, this is definitely a bounce back for him and the No. 15 Venturini Motorsports team. While it wasn’t the best start for his bid at the ARCA East championship, it’s a move in the right direction

He’ll look to further bolster his performance as he and Venturini Motorsports return to the track this weekend at Irwindale Speedway.

Career night for Zachary (not Zach)

The best part about racing is the stories. Who doesn’t love a good story? And on Saturday night, it was Zachary Tinkle and Fast Track Racing’s night to shine.

Tinkle came home seventh, beating his previous career-high ARCA finish from 2021 at DuQuoin. The Speedway, Indiana native is set to run full-time this year in ARCA East, and a career-best result is a great way to start that campaign… plus some Waffle House.

Next up for the ARCA Menards Series is a trip back to the west coast, as the ARCA Menards Series West heads to Irwindale Speedway for the West Coast Stock Car Motorsports Hall of Fame 150. Catch the race on Saturday night at 10 P.M. ET on FloRacing.

However, the next event for the ARCA Menards Series East is about a month away, when the series tackles the one-mile Dover Motor Speedway on April 28, the second of four ARCA East standalone.

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