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William Sawalich Dominates, Wins ARCA East at Nashville Fairgrounds

2024 Arca East Nashville Fairgrounds William Sawalich Mark Kristl

For the fifth time in his ARCA Menards Series East career, but for the first time in 2024, William Sawalich has found victory lane. This time, the 17-year-old led most of the race at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway en route to victory. 

It was the 2023 East Series champion’s first win since the season finale at Bristol Motor Speedway last September. 

“It was a really good race,” Sawalich told track reporters. “It’s just really great to be here, I love this track.”

Finishing second, in just her second ARCA-sanctioned start was Isabella Robusto, who spent the entirety of the race inside the top three. 

Dover Motor Speedway winner Connor Zilisch finished third, rounding out the three cars that finished the 150-lap race on the lead lap. 

The rest of the top five saw Zachary Tinkle finish fourth, and Andrew Patterson, who was making his ARCA debut, finish fifth. The finish marked Tinkle’s first top-five finish in his ARCA career. 

In sixth, Tyler Scofield crossed the line as the final car one lap down. Rounding out the remainder of the top 10, Caleb Costner finished seventh, and Jayson Alexander, who was also making his ARCA debut finished eighth. Hunter Wright finished ninth, and DL Wilson came across the line in 10th. 

At the initial drop of the green flag, Gio Ruggiero, the polesitter, retained the lead over Sawalich. Sawalich eventually got around Ruggiero, as the polesitter fell to fourth. However, Ruggiero spun on lap 7 after an apparent tire issue while running fourth, an issue that looked to have been created after contact with Zilisch. The wreck ended the 17-year-old’s chances at a win early, but the Venturini Motorsports team would get the No. 20 back out 26 laps later. However, at the midway break, Ruggiero would exit the car, and not return to the event. 

On the restart, Robusto held with Sawalich for the initial lap, but the 17-year-old Minnesotan driver held the lead, as the front two drove away from the rest of the field. By lap 32, Sawalich had a lead of just over a second on Robusto, when the caution flag waved again. Tanner Reif, who had already had a backup engine in his Cook Racing Technologies entry, had an overheating issue. In an attempt to get to pit road, Reif made heavy front-end contact with the tire barrier at pit road entrance, bringing out the yellow flag, and ending Reif’s race early. 

After a lengthy caution period, the field once again took the green flag…

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