Friday December 8th, 2023 1:28AM

Hingorani takes ARCA West title, Sawalich wins Phoenix

By Brandon

AVONDALE, Ariz. - With their recent dominance on the ARCA Menards Series platform, it only made sense for Venturini Motorsports to expand their empire westward.

The driver Venturini Motorsports tasked for this quest was 17-year-old Sean Hingorani from Newport Beach, California. Hingorani more than proved himself in a Venturini Motorsports car with a stellar debut season that saw him take the ARCA Menards Series West championship crown.

Even though he did not grab a victory in the season-ending race at Phoenix Raceway, Hingorani was elated to see the hard work put in by himself and Venturini Motorsports culminate with a West Series title.

“This was such a great season with Billy Venturini,” Hingorani said. “We fought so hard today and really wanted to win this race, but these guys brought me a fast car everywhere. This was such a great opportunity over here [at Venturini Motorsports] and I’m so thankful for it.”

The turnaround from their first Phoenix race together to Friday afternoon encapsulated the growth Hingorani and Venturini Motorsports experienced together in 2023.

Multiple issues hindered Hingorani during the entire night at Phoenix in March, which relegated him to a finish of 16th, three laps off pace of the winner Tyler Reif.

Disappointed with his first outing in a Venturini Motorsports car, Hingorani worked closely with his team to ensure they could be a title contender when they returned to Phoenix in the fall.

Hingorani immediately responded by tallying his first two West Series victories at Irwindale Speedway and Kern County Raceway Park. He then cemented himself as a championship favorite during the summer with two more triumphs at Shasta Speedway and Evergreen Speedway.

By the time the West Series reached their season finale at Phoenix, the driver’s championship was almost fully in Hingorani’s control. The only item left on Hinograni’s agenda was to make one more trip to victory lane at the track where his journey with Venturini Motorsports began.

Despite managing to briefly lead the season finale, Hingorani had to settle for third behind his teammate Dean Thompson and race-winner William Sawalich. Hingorani was confident he had a car capable of taking home a checkered flag but said the big picture of the West Series title mattered more in the end.

“We were just as fast as (Sawalich), if not faster I think,” Hingorani said. “We could have raced him for the win there, but unfortunately we got into a racing incident with (Thompson) and weren’t able to get there. This was still a strong, third place finish and we got the championship.”

Like Hingorani, Friday’s ARCA West Series finale at Phoenix also served as proper redemption for Sawalich.

The debut race for Sawalich on the ARCA platform nearly saw him claim a victory at Phoenix until he was turned on a late-race restart by Bradley Erickson. No such problems plagued the 2023 ARCA Menards Series East champion on Friday, who executed a near-flawless race to end his great season on a positive note.

“This was very special,” Sawalich said. “We finished where we should have left off in the first race of the year (at Phoenix). We capitalized on every opportunity and had a couple of good restarts. I worked on a few things myself and I think I’m ready for next year.”

The final race on the ARCA platform in 2023 featured two of its three champions inside the Top 3 with Sawalich in first and Hingorani in third.

A lot has changed for Hingorani since he made his West Series debut with Eric Nascimento’s program at Evergreen Speedway in 2022. While his rookie year featured a learning curve at times, Hingorani credited everyone at Venturini Motorsports for making him the driver he is today.

Now that he is a West Series champion, Hingorani wants to keep the momentum going and is eager to get a head start on 2024, regardless if that involves defending his title or branching out elsewhere.

“It’s so great (to win the West Series title),” Hingorani said. “This was our first try at it and we got it done on our first try. I can’t wait to see what we do next year.”

Hingorani’s efficient year gives Venturini Motorsports another championship on the ARCA platform and their first on the West Coast. They will now have a brief winter to regroup and keep their ARCA dynasty strong in 2024 on both sides of the country.

Taking home the owner’s championship in the West Series was the No. 17 of MMI Racing with Kaden Honeycutt behind the wheel. Despite having to overcome a flat tire, Honeycutt kept control of the owner’s title by salvaging a ninth place run.

Jack Wood and Tyler Reif finished fourth and fifth, with Landen Lewis, Bradley Erickson, Tanner Reif, Honeycutt, and Sebastian Arias rounding out the top 10.

ARCA Menards Series West
Phoenix Raceway – Avondale, AZ
Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 100 – November 3, 2023

1. William Sawalich
2. Dean Thompson
3. Sean Hingorani
4. Jack Wood
5. Tyler Reif
6. Landen Lewis
7. Bradley Erickson
8. Tanner Reif
9. Kaden Honeycutt
10. Sebastian Arias
11. Toni Breidinger
12. Justin Johnson
13. Ethan Nascimento
14. Kyle Keller
15. Dylan Smith
16. Takuma Koga
17. Lavar Scott
18. Robbie Kennealy
19. Eric Nascimento, Jr.
20. Trevor Huddleston
21. Johnny Borneman III
22. Kris Wright
23. David Smith
24. Ryan Roulette
25. Joey Iest
26. Todd Souza
27. Nick Joanides
28. Bobby Hillis, Jr.

  • Associated Categories: NASCAR News, Other Motorsports
  • Associated Tags: nascar, motorsports, Auto Racing, Stock Car, Asphalt, ARCA Racing Series, ARCA West
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