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Race report

William Sawalich escapes restart scare in Portland ARCA West win

William Sawalich survived a scary late-race restart and held on to win Friday’s ARCA West race at Portland International Raceway.

William Sawalich, TRICON Garage, Starkey/Soundgear Toyota Tundra

Sawalich, who competes in ARCA and NASCAR for Joe Gibbs Racing, grabbed the lead from Xfinity Series driver Brandon Jones just before the halfway break and led every lap in the second half.

Sawalich and Jones both got a scare late in the race. Eric Johnson Jr. ran off the track in Turn 12 and hit the tire barrier which brought out a caution that set up a restart with seven laps remaining.

As the field entered Turn 4, Jack Wood was looking to take the field three-wide and grab the lead, but instead ran off into the inside grass and lost control.

Wood’s No. 16 then slid right across the noses of both Sawalich and Jones before ending up in another grassy runoff.

 

Sawalich wasn’t slowed by the chaos and held on to beat Jones by 4.510 seconds to earn his second series win but first win in a stock car on a road course.

The 17-year-old Sawalich now has a pair of ARCA West wins, five in ARCA East (and one championship) and five wins in the national ARCA Menards Series.

“We definitely worked on our road course program in the offseason. I worked on myself because I wasn’t that good last year,” Sawalich said. “We put in the work and got the win here so that feels really good.

“That gives me a lot of confidence going into Sonoma (next weekend) that we’re going to be really good there. We’ll test out the new repave and see how it goes.”

Isabella Robusto ran down Tyler Reif in the closing laps to take third, Reif was fourth and Giovanni Ruggiero rounded out the top five.

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