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Race report
ARCA Chicagoland

Sawalich earns Bristol win and ARCA East title

William Sawalich had already clinched a championship in Friday night’s ARCA Menards Series race but also wanted the victory.

William Sawalich, Joe Gibbs Racing

Jesse Love had dominated most of the race – leading 158 of the 200 laps – but a late-race caution set up a restart with 10 to go which opened the door for Sawalich.

Two laps after the restart, Sawalich got to the inside of Love and cleanly powered around him and into the lead. He held off Love by 0.412 seconds to take the win, his third national series win of the season and fourth in ARCA East.

Earlier in the night, blown tires by Luke Fenhaus knocked him out of the event after 30 laps which handed the ARCA East title to Sawalich regardless of his finish. Fenhaus was the only driver within striking distance of Sawalich’s points lead entering the race.

“This team has done an amazing job all year,” said Sawalich, who doesn’t turn 17 years old until next month. “We’ve been fast everywhere we’ve went.

“I didn’t think we could get (Love) but then that caution came out and we were able to capitalize on that. I’m really proud of this team.”

Sawalich’s championship marks the third consecutive ARCA East title for a Toyota driver.

In ARCA East competition, Sawalich won four of the eight events, with top-five finishes in the balance. The Toyota development driver has also had an impressive start in the national series, with three wins, 10 top-five finishes and six poles in 11 starts.

Sawalich has also ran several races in the NASCAR Truck Series this season for Tricon Garage, including Friday night’s race at Bristol. He has three top-10 finishes in five starts, including a career-best sixth at Indianapolis Raceway Park last month.

Andres Perez finished third in Friday night’s race, Jake Finch was fourth and Greg Van Alst rounded out the top-five.

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