AVONDALE, Ariz.: The past three weeks have been a blur for Greg Van Alst.
But all for a very good reason.
The ARCA Menards Series winner of the BRANDT 200 Supporting Florida FFA at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway has been embracing what seems like a never-ending list of media requests, a busy cell phone with non-stop calls, a loaded inbox full of emails and a race car sitting in his Anderson, Ind. shop waiting to be built for Friday night’s General Tire 150 at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway.
Positively but diligently, Van Alst has manned the requests, answered every call, put a time stamp on the emails and buttoned up the loose ends of his No. 35 Greg Van Alst Motorsports Ford Fusion – all with the determination to keep his points lead intact exiting Phoenix.
But, no matter what the ARCA Menards Series – ARCA Menards Series West combination event offers, nothing can steal the limelight of what Daytona delivered on February 18.
“Life has been great, busy but great,” said Van Alst. “Honestly, it doesn’t seem like I’ve had time to breathe, but I don’t mind. I’ll take that any day if we continue to put ourselves in contention to win races.
“Daytona was so good for our Greg Van Alst Motorsports team. We did it and we did it well. It wasn’t just about me though – it’s about every single person on this team from start to bottom who helped make the Daytona magic come to life.
“While I hate to put Daytona in the rear-view mirror, we have to shift our concentration forward as we prepare ourselves for a championship assault this season. Phoenix is on deck and we have a lot to be desired with our return trip to the desert.”
Last spring, Van Alst saw his chances of a top-10 finish evaporate after an early-race collision with another driver. And while the disappointing results were a setback for the team last season, the Anderson, Ind. native said he learned a lot himself from that situation that can put him in a much better position on Friday night.
“I feel like our race was over last March before it really even started,” Van Alst recalled. “I really enjoyed Phoenix as a veteran short track racer – and although we were not able to finish the race, I feel like the track time and situational awareness puts me in a good position for this weekend.
“We cannot afford to take any chances. It’s going to be another race with a big field of cars and some drivers I have never competed against, so I’ve really taken the last couple of days to think about what we need to do to survive Phoenix and look ahead to Talladega in April.”
Van Alst is poised to take a thoughtful approach to the 150 laps on Friday night and when the checkered flag waves – he hopes the momentum his team earned at Daytona will continue to flicker for the 26-hour journey home.
“We need to come out of Phoenix with a top-10, I feel like,” Van Alst explained. “I know that goal won’t come easy but with the dedication of my team and crew chief Jim Long, I really feel like we can take one spot at a time – mind our matters with our competition and see what 150 laps bring our way.”
For the second ARCA Menards Series race of the season, Van Alst does not have a primary partner on his No. 35 Ford Fusion. However, for Phoenix, he will promote SponsorTeam35.com, a website dedicated to offering potential marketing partners opportunities to pledge their support to the family-owned team during the course of the 2023 ARCA Menards Series season.
“SponsorTeam35.com is a concept that I thought of before Daytona,” explained Van Alst. “After our success of pulling together nearly 20 companies to make our win happen there – I felt like launching this site early in the season was extremely important.
“The site is very simple and I believe easy to use and very self-explanatory. We had a lot of help for Daytona and we’ll have more help throughout the season – but there are plenty of races that are unsold and I’m hoping this platform will allow us to fill that space.”
Along with CB Fabricating, SponsorTeam35.com, did, however, attract some associate partners for Phoenix including Creative Solutions, Vern’s Concrete, Johnson Family Plumbing, Kamikaze Games YouTube Channel, Martin Exotics, Norton’s Transport, Riggins Renovation, Rhino Trucking, r/NASCAR and SLS.
Since 2002, Van Alst has 32 ARCA Menards Series starts to his credit with a career-best finish of first (win) at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (Feb. 2023). Overall, he has earned three top-five and 15 top-10 finishes and holds an average series finish of 13.4. He finished a career-high fifth in the championship standings in 2022.
The General Tire 150 (150 laps | 150 miles) is the second of 20 races on the 2023 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Fri., Mar. 10 with a fifty-minute session from 3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Group qualifying is set to follow at 4:00 p.m. The field will take the green flag shortly after 6:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 2 (FS2) with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM channel 391 | online channel 981) handling the radio waves. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (MT).