Motorsport News

Underdogs Dominate Start of 2023 ARCA Season

2023 ARCA Phoenix Tyler Reif, No. 41 Lowden Jackson Motorsports Ford, wins (Credit: NKP)

Through two races in the 2023 ARCA Menards Series, there have been two different winners, both earning their first career wins in the process. 

Most notably, excluded from those winners is Jesse Love, who is widely considered a title favorite for Venturini Motorsports. Also missing is the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 car, which has been driven by William Sawalich and Connor Mosack in the two events thus far. Both cars were considered to be the strongest in the field heading into the season; however, through two races, both have failed to find victory lane.

For Venturini, this season marks the first since 2017 in which the team did not find victory lane within the first two races to start a season. That year, Austin Theriault won the season-opening racing at Daytona International Speedway for Ken Schrader’s team, and Chad Finley won at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville for his father Jeff’s team.

While Venturini has had strong runs at both Phoenix Raceway and Daytona, the team has had a good deal of tough luck. Love was in the mix for most of the race in both events, and was taken out in wrecks that were not of his own doing both times. While he was able to rebound at Daytona, the wreck at Phoenix ended his race. The team has also had good runs out of Amber Balcaen at Daytona and Toni Breidinger at Phoenix, though has still been unable to claim a checkered flag.

As for the Gibbs No. 18, the team has also found a bit of poor luck thus far into the season. Mosack showed good speed at Daytona, winning the pole and running among the leaders for most of the race until he was spun late. He was unable to rebound completely but still came back to the line with a runner-up finish. Much of the same goes for Sawalich, who spun early at Phoenix but rebounded back to the lead, then was spun again on a late restart, finishing 11th. 

However, through the larger teams’ misfortunes, many of the smaller teams have capitalized. Both Greg Van Alst and Tyler Reif won their first career races at Daytona and Phoenix, respectively, and neither were heavy favorites entering those events.

The 15-year-old Reif’s win at Phoenix put him among the youngest winners in series history, behind only Todd Gilliland, who won his first career ARCA race two days after his 15th birthday in 2015 at Toledo, and Landen Lewis, who was halfway to his 16th birthday when he won at Du Quoin in 2021. 

The win was also significant, as Reif joined Gilliland, Myatt…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at …