DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.: Chuck Norris once said, “Dreams do come true, if you want them bad enough.”
For ARCA Menards Series driver Greg Van Alst that quote hits home as the 2019 ARCA CRA champion will return to the series for the first time since 2002 to compete in Saturday afternoon’s Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
It’s been a 13-month process for Van Alst to put his Greg Van Alst Motorsports on track for the 2021 season-opener. An opportunity to test at the “World Center of Racing” in January 2020 reignited a flame for Van Alst to return to the tour and now with the help of some of ARCA’s heavy hitters, his dream is becoming a reality.
“I feel like it’s Christmas Day or I just arrived at Disney World,” joked Van Alst. “I’m so excited, thankful and humbled to be heading to Daytona this week. It’s been a lot of hard work, countless hours of lost sleep – but it’s all worth it once that green flag drops on Saturday afternoon.”
Over the winter Van Alst acquired a superspeedway car from Chad Bryant Racing and with the help of Bryant, veteran and NASCAR championship crew chief Paul Andrews and Van Alst Motorsports crew chief Jim Long – Van Alst is upbeat about his chances in the 80-lap contest.
“Honestly, it all came together really fast during the off-season,” Van Alst admitted. “Really, one race turned into two races and with the help of my primary marketing partner a one-two-race deal has blossomed into a minimum 10-race deal and maybe with some luck a few more in-between.”
Showcasing his car’s ability during the open ARCA Menards Series test at Daytona in January, Van Alst knows he has a car capable of winning the race, but don’t mind if the Anderson, Ind. native falls back early in the race and just waits to make his mark.
“I’m a racer, so I know you have to be around at the end to have any chance of winning,” said Van Alst.
“That’s our strategy if we get caught in the middle early or somehow don’t have the starting position we want, we’ll let the race get to halfway or 30 laps to go or so and then make our march forward.
“I know the capabilities of our No. 35 Chevrolet SS. We proved that in the test. It was very sturdy and solid in the draft and produced a lot of speed in the single-car runs, so I know we have a good piece. I just have to take care of it if we’re going to have any shot of bringing home that Daytona trophy.”
Van Alst also has extra motivation to win on Saturday afternoon. His family will be in attendance, watching the race as spectators and rooting him on with every lap complete.
“I want so bad to be able to take that checkered flag and go and do a burnout in front of my family,” sounded Van Alst. “You talk about motivation, that’s it for me. My family supports me 100 percent and I’d love to reward them with a victory celebration at Daytona. It does not get any better than that.”
CB Fabricating, a longtime partner with Greg Van Alst Motorsports will boost its commitment to the team and make the leap to the ARCA Menards Series as the primary marketing partner of Van Alst’s No. 35 Chevrolet.
Headquartered in Anderson, Ind., CB Fabricating offers a complete list of fabricating from design, laser cutting, CNC punching, forming, welding, powder coating, and assembly.
Their 26,000 square foot facility allows them to service the needs of many different industries. Everything from the Automotive, agricultural, aquatic, medical, transportation, electrical enclosures, and much more.
“Without the support of Chris Barkdull and everyone at CB Fabricating, this chance to elevate our team to the next level would not have been possible,” added Van Alst. “We have set goals for ourselves in 2021 and I believe we are aligning ourselves with the right people who can allow us to turn heads not only at Daytona but throughout the 2021 season.”
In addition to CB Fabricating, Top Choice Fence, Kenny Greene No. 49, Norton Transport, KRJ Race Products and Lintz Creative will serve as associate marketing partners for Van Alst’s fourth career ARCA start.
Additional specifics on Greg Van Alst Motorsports’ 2021 ARCA Menards Series program is forthcoming, including a detailed series schedule.
The Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire (80 laps | 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2021 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Fri., Feb. 12 with a one-hour session from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Group qualifying is set for race day, Sat., Feb. 13 at 8:30 a.m. The season-opener for the 69th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag shortly after 1:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities.