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Race report

Connor Zilisch bests William Sawalich for Iowa ARCA win

Two of the top up-and-coming stars in NASCAR racing went head-to-head with Connor Zilisch coming away with the win in Friday night’s ARCA Menards Series race at Iowa Speedway.

Connor Zilisch, Spire Motorsports, Austin Hatcher Foundation Chevrolet Silverado

Connor Zilisch, Spire Motorsports, Austin Hatcher Foundation Chevrolet Silverado

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

As Friday’s 150-lap race wound to a close Zilisch, a 17-year-old development driver for Trackhouse Racing, found himself trying to hold off fellow 17-year-old William Sawalich, a development driver for Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing.

Three times in the final 23 laps, Zilisch and Sawalich raced side-by-side and banged fenders on restarts with Zilisch able to stay out front each time.

The final restart with three laps to go was the least dramatic for Zilisch, who got a great start and held off Sawalich by 0.513 seconds – his second series win of the 2024 season in as many starts.

 

Zilisch, a sports car ace, has the least experience on oval tracks. Just this season he owns LMP2 class victories in the Daytona 24 and Sebring 12 hours.

“I can’t say about this team. They’ve worked really hard to bring fast cars to the race track and get these wins,” Zilisch said. “It means a lot to me to come out and here and win these races. I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”

Giovanni Ruggiero finished third, Iowa native and former ARCA champion Mason Mitchell was fourth and Andy Jankowiak rounded out the top five.

The race was marred by several accidents.

A three-car incident on lap 24 knocked out the cars of Amber Balcaen and Greg van Alst and former IndyCar driver Marco Andretti got swept into the incident. He was eventually forced to take his car to the garage for repairs.

 

Van Alst and Balcaen were second and third, respectively, in the series standings entering the race.2

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