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William Sawalich Pulls Off Veteran-Like Performance at IRP

The 16-year-old racer completed all 400 laps of Friday night's ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.


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He may only be 16 years old, but William Sawalich is flashing the moxy of a seasoned veteran. This past Friday, at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park the six-time CARS Tour Pro Late Model race winner completed all 400 laps of racing action between the ARCA Menards Series Reese's 200 and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series TSport 200.

It was a truly impressive feat, as Sawalich, who won the Orange Blossom 100 at New Smyrna earlier this year, did more than just finish all of the laps in both races. The racer scored impressive finishes of fourth and sixth in the two events.

As impressive as his on-track performance was in both races, the calm, cool demeanor that Sawalich displayed after climbing from the No. 1 TRICON Garage Toyota Tundra TRD Pro on a sweltering day in Indiana was more stirring.

"Yeah, I feel pretty good," Sawalich said to Racing America. "[the] ARCA race was pretty hot and slick. I learned a bunch about that, and dirty air, just learned everything for this race."

While several drivers had to seek medical attention following the NASCAR Truck Series event due to excessive heat, the native of Eden Prairie, Minnesota looked fresh as a daisy.

Sawalich is part of the Joe Gibbs Racing / Toyota Racing Development driver development pipeline, which allows him access to some incredible resources -- including 20-time NASCAR National Series race winner John Hunter Nemechek.

The young racer says that Nemechek, who has been a valuable asset for his growth on track, gave him some key advice going into Friday night's NCTS event.

"I talked to John Hunter [Nemechek] before the race, he gave me some good tips," Sawalich explained. "I applied them well. All of my restarts went well. Pit Road was really good. The pit crew did a really good job. TRICON gave me a really fast Soundgear Tundra TRD Pro."

With his latest solid finish, Sawalich now has three top-10 efforts in his four NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts with TRICON Garage. While Sawalich is a mainstay in the ARCA Menards Series East, where he leads the point standings in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry, it is becoming more and more apparent that he has meshed well with the TRICON Garage team.

"Yeah, it's really good," Sawalich said of his part-time role in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. "[Crew chief] Seth [Smith] is good for me, I think. We're a really good pair. He's just calm cool and collected and so am I. The whole team is just great and always fun to be around."

Over the next couple of weeks, Sawalich will continue to build his racing notebook as he'll compete in a ton of events between the ARCA Menards Series divisions and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

This week, he'll contest both ARCA Menards Series events, which will take place at Watkins Glen International on Friday, August 18th, and on the dirt at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Sunday, August 20th.

After a packed weekend of racing this week, Sawalich will be back at it again next weekend as he'll contest the ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events at The Milwaukee Mile on Friday, August 27th. Sawalich will attempt to complete all 325 laps between those two races.

Photo Credit: Tyson Gifford, Racing America

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