Joe Gibbs Racing has a history of success in the ARCA Menards Series. The championship-winning organization will try to build upon it in the coming years with a new driver.
Joe Gibbs Racing announced on December 9 the addition of William Sawalich. The 16-year-old driver from Minnesota has joined the organization on a multi-year deal. He will make 20 starts in 2023, which will include the full ARCA Menards Series West schedule and some in the ARCA Menards Series.
Sawalich will take over the No. 18 Toyota during his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing. He will have Starkey Hearing as his primary partner. Sawalich will aim to achieve success in ARCA after a 2022 campaign that featured wins across the CARS Tour Pro Late Model Series and Southern Super Series among others.
“We take a lot of pride in our development program with Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing and we think William has shown tremendous potential to become a great driver in our sport,” said Steve DeSouza, Executive Vice President of Xfinity Series and Driver Development, said in a press release. “He has already shown the desire and dedication it takes to be successful at his young age and we’re excited to watch his progress through ARCA and ultimately NASCAR ranks.”
JGR Has Numerous Wins in ARCA With Multiple Drivers
Joe Gibbs Racing has used the ARCA Menards Series to achieve considerable success with a variety of drivers. Ty Gibbs headlines the list as he won 18 races across three seasons. This run includes 10 in 2021, as well as the championship.
There are multiple other drivers that have suited up and driven a JGR entry in the ARCA Menards Series. This list features Denny Hamlin, Riley Herbst, Matt Tifft, Drew Herring, Todd Gilliland, and Sammy Smith. Gibbs has the most wins while Herbst has two of his own.
The 2022 season was unique. The No. 18 Toyota ran under the Kyle Busch Motorsports name as Smith made 16 starts and won six times, including the final three races of the year.
Meanwhile, Joe Gibbs Racing fielded a part-time entry for one of its former drivers. Brandon Jones returned to the ARCA Menards Series and made five starts in the No. 81 Toyota. He posted top-five finishes in every race while also winning three times.
Sawalich’s Season Will Begin Later
The 16-year-old from Minnesota will run 20 races across multiple ARCA series. However, he won’t take part in the trip to Daytona International Speedway. Instead, his season will begin at Phoenix Raceway on March 10. He will take part in the ARCA Menards Series and ARCA Menards Series West combination race.
Sawalich’s ARCA West season will continue with Irwindale Speedway, Kern County Raceway Park, Portland International Raceway, Sonoma Raceway, Irwindale Speedway, Shasta Speedway, Evergreen Speedway, All American Speedway, The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Madera Speedway, and Phoenix Raceway.
Once Sawalich completes his inaugural season with Joe Gibbs Racing, he will prepare for even more races in the future. He will return to the organization in 2024 as part of the multi-year, and he will continue to pursue wins.