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Luke Fenhaus Wins ARCA East Race at Nashville on Overtime Restart

2023 ARCA East Nashville Fairgrounds Luke Fenhaus car burnout Credit Ben Bransum TobyChristie

On a last-lap green/white flag shootout, Luke Fenhaus won his first career ARCA Menards East Series race in his third career start.

The Pinnacle Racing Group driver gained the lead on an overtime restart at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, passing William Sawalich on the backstretch, who dominated the event, en route to taking the checkered flag on Saturday (May 13) night.

Finishing runner up behind Fenhaus was Sawalich, who had dominated the race, leading the first 204 laps of the event in his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota.

Right behind Sawalich was Sean Hingorani, who finished third. The finish gives the Venturini Motorsports driver his best result in East series competition this season to date, narrowly beating his previous best of fourth.

Rounding out the top five, Gio Ruggiero finished fourth, making his ARCA series debut, driving for VMS in the No. 20. The 16-year-old from Massachusetts spent nearly the entire race inside the top five.

Dover Motor Speedway winner Jake Finch finished fifth, racing for his family-owned team Phoenix Racing in the No. 1 Toyota.

Lavar Scott finished sixth in the event, the last car on the lead lap. Zachary Tinkle ended up in seventh, with Tanner Arms eighth, Tim Monroe ninth and Dale Shearer rounding out the top 10. The latter of the four were each multiple laps down. For Shearer, the result marks the first time the 63-year-old has ever finished inside of the top 10 in ARCA competition.

Sawalich jumped out to an early lead on the initial start, pulling out in front of Ruggiero, whom he shared the front row with, and never looked back. He held the lead through the first portion of the race until the first caution fell shortly before the halfway break. Sawalich had little to no competition for the lead, and the only true danger he faced was working through lapped traffic. Sawalich lapped up to the sixth-place car, Scott, and put many of the slower cars numerous laps down in the process. 

The most heated battle on the race track during the first half of the race was between the two VMS drivers, Hingorani and Ruggiero, as the pair battled for second place. Ruggiero held the spot until lap 82, when Hingorani made his way around, after following closely behind for many laps. 

The first caution of the night fell on lap 85, when Arms lost control of his No. 95 Toyota, which had been visibly sideways for much of the race. He was able to continue, and the car sustained no substantial…

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