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Greg Van Alst Follows Daytona Win with Points Lead

2023 ARCA Phoenix Greg Van Alst car (Credit: NKP)

The 2023 ARCA Menards Series season has opened with two straight first-time winners. It is the first time there have been back-to-back first-time winners in the main series since Jesse Love and Nick Sanchez won the last two events of the 2021 season.

This difference between the winners is more notable: 41-year-old Greg Van Alst won at the 2.5-mile superspeedway Daytona International Speedway and then 15-year-old Tyler Reif won at the 1-mile paved tri-oval Phoenix Raceway.

The General Tire 150 at Phoenix was also the lone combination race between the main series and the ARCA Menards Series West. After the 160-lap race, which featured 13 cautions for 78 laps, who emerged as the frontrunners in the Frontstretch power rankings?

1. Greg Van Alst

Van Alst ran inside the top 10 for most of the race. On the final overtime restart, he was third. But leader Reif initially restarted slowly, causing the inside line, including Van Alst, to start slowly as well. When the checkered flag flew, Van Alst wound up 10th, not indicative of the speed in his No. 35.

Still, Van Alst unofficially leads the points by 10 over Frankie Muniz. The Frontstretch panelists’ unanimous pick to win the championship, Love, trails by 26 points in fourth place.

“Not the finish we wanted but the showing we needed,” Van Alst posted on Facebook. “We were terrible on these types of track last year. Our winter work has paid off. Super proud of everyone on this team.”

Looking ahead, Van Alst could remain the points leader after the first quarter of the season. He will be a threat to win at fellow superspeedway Talladega Superspeedway, he has two top 10s in four starts at Kansas Speedway, and he finished fifth in the 2022 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This championship battle is beginning to look memorable.

2. Frankie Muniz

Muniz is popular with over 336,000 Twitter followers, but after two career ARCA races, he also has shown some talent. After an 11th-place finish in his series debut at Daytona, Muniz rebounded from an early spin to wind up sixth at Phoenix. Of the full-time main series drivers, he was third. As a result, after two races, he’s second in points.

Consider this: in two races with Rette Jones Racing, Muniz has a sixth-place finish. In all 20 races with the team last year, Amber Balcaen had a best finish of seventh. Yes, there are 18 races left to go in the 2023 season, but Muniz has proven he belongs in ARCA. The next…

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