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‘On the Hauler’: Recapping the General Tire 150 at Phoenix Raceway

Cars in action during the General Tire 150 for the ARCA Menards Series and ARCA Menards Series West at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona, on March 10, 2023. (Adam Glanzman/ARCA Racing)

After heading to the desert, and opening the ARCA Menards West Series, there is a lot to look at after the finish.

Another upset winner

After a wild and action-packed 150 laps, 15-year-old Tyler Reif took home an underdog win on a late-race restart. This was only Reif’s third career ARCA West start, and his first ARCA Main Series start. While it’s his first career win, the Henderson, NV native won’t have too much time to celebrate as he and the team will head to Five Flags Speedway to kick off the ARCA Menards East Series schedule.

West is Best?

In a series that has been dominated the past several years by the 18 and the 20, the West Series drivers came out and took it to them on Friday night. Four of the top five finishes are running the full ARCA West schedule. Issues plagued the top ARCA Series teams. From wrecks involving Jesse Love and Jack Wood to a late race spin for the 18 team. While there was chaos out on track at times, the ARCA West Drivers seemed to keep the cooler heads and came out on top this time around.

A Big Debut, but not with some kinks

A lot of eyes (including mine) were focused on the no. 18 JGR car and rookie William Sawalich making his ARCA series debut. The 16-year-old (gosh that hurts to type) had a strong start by getting the pole and leading a dominant 94 of the 150 laps. However, there were moments to help remind us that, while that 18 has been so dominant in years past, they are still just a race team. Early in the race, Sawalich fell off on the long run from the lead. Only after some chaos and wrecks involving other fast cars, Sawalich was back up front. It looked as if my pick to win the race was going to do it…until the next-to-last restart. Sawalich left the bottom open just enough in the dogleg and got turned around off the 88 of Bradley Erickson. Still, with no damage, the Eden Prairie, MN native came home 13th on the night. 

What an unpredictable start

If I had told you that two races into 2023, Greg Van Alst would be leading the points, you’d probably have thought I was crazy, but then if I followed it up that Frankie Muniz would be second, you’d laugh in my face. 

Yet here we are and after the Van Alst upset win at Daytona, plus his tenth-place finish at Phoenix he is showing that consistency is key. Same for Muniz after his sixth-place finish in the desert. He sets just ten points back of Van Alst. While we still have 18 races left, I think we all can agree there is a lot of parody in the series right now. 

A reminder that racing is dangerous

Every now and then, we do get reminders that racing is dangerous. Sadly, we had an example of this after D.L. Wilson was injured in a late-race crash. Wilson suffered a concussion, broken ribs, and damage to his sternum.

Thankfully, Wilson has been released and is recovering at home according to Fast Track Racing’s Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/FastTrackRacing/posts/pfbid02e3c9naW4o4janD3KsQA774fjxCNTL13d3hL6idHAko4MSmaZQPgxTSz84A4yAArxl

 

Up next, The ARCA Menards Series East makes its 2023 debut at Five Flags Speedway for the Pensacola 200 on Saturday, March 25th. You can catch the race at 8 P.M. ET on FloRacing and radio at ARCARacing.com.

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