By ARCA Menards Series
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For 204 laps, William Sawalich was the class of the ARCA Menards Series East field Saturday during the Music City 200 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.
However, all it takes is one lap to change the outcome of a race.
Luke Fenhaus took the lead from Sawalich during an overtime, final-lap restart and survived a bump entering Turn 3 to secure his maiden ARCA Menards Series East victory.
“What a race car,” said Fenhaus. “We struggled early on, and I wasn’t sure what we were going to do with the green-white-checkered. I knew the 15 [Sean Hingorani] was close to me. I just wasn’t sure how the green-white-checkered was going to play out. I had one job, to hold him on the bottom off [Turn] 2, and I knew I’d get him.”
Sawalich was on cruise control as the laps clicked off and looked well on his way to his second victory of the season, but after he took the white flag, a spin by Rita Goulet brought out the caution flag.
Per ARCA Menards Series East rules, if the caution flag waves on the white-flag lap, then the restart that follows is a one-lap dash to the checkered flag.
Fenhaus restarted on the outside of Sawalich and got a big jump as the field roared toward Turn 1. He was able to clear Sawalich at the exit of Turn 2, but Sawalich did his best to root him out of the way entering Turn 3.
The driver from Wausau, Wisconsin shook off Sawalich’s attempt at a bump-and-run to score his first ARCA platform victory and the first series victory for the Pinnacle Racing Group.
Sawalich dominated Saturday at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway until the final lap. He was the fastest driver in practice, won the General Tire Pole Award and led every lap of the race until the final circuit.
“I knew we had the fastest car. It was just a matter of executing,” Sawalich said. “I think he jumped the start a little bit, but stuff happens like that. I got a shot in the rear and spun my tires. Unfortunately we ended up losing, but we definitely had the fastest car here.”
Hingorani finished third, with the debuting Gio Ruggiero and Jake Finch completing the top five.
A replay of the Music City 200 will air on May 21 at 12:30 p.m. ET on CNBC.
The ARCA Menards Series East returns to action Saturday, May 20 with the inaugural running of the Dutch Boy 150 at Michigan’s Flat Rock Speedway. The race will be shown live at 7:30 p.m. ET on FloRacing.