ELKO, Minn: With four straight top-10 ARCA Menards Series finishes in the books, Greg Van Alst and his Greg Van Alst Motorsports team trek to Elko Speedway for Saturday night’s Menards 250 focused on continuing to improve their short track program.
Last weekend at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway, Van Alst and his No. 35 CB Fabricating Ford Fusion made steady progress throughout the day and night which resulted in the team’s fourth top-10 finish of the 2022 ARCA Menards Series season, but for the Anderson, Ind. native, running in the top-10 is not anything to get excited about.
Sure, the solid finishes are a good foundation for the veteran racer who endured three straight races of heartbreak to open up his first full year of ARCA competition – but after inhaling a top-five finish at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway last month – the former ARCA | CRA champion is eager to get back inside the top-five and contend for podium performances.
“Berlin was OK for us,” said Van Alst. “We made good progress throughout the day, so we’re not upset with our performance, but we left the race track hungry for more. We have been working diligently on our short-track program – knowing that’s where we need to improve.
“We made gains the last couple of weeks, so we are heading in the right direction, but there’s plenty of work still to be done.”
Minnesota’s Elko Speedway will conclude ARCA’s three-race consecutive stretch of short tracks and while Van Alst has never competed at the 3/8-mile paved oval, he is looking forward to a competitive race at the smallest track on the circuit.
“It’s been a lot of fun to go back to my roots of short track racing and have some pretty solid runs with our No. 35 CB Fabricating Ford Fusion,” said Van Alst. “Berlin was another race where patience was rewarded with another solid finish.
“This weekend at Elko will be somewhat of a similar scenario for me. Even though I had raced at Berlin – I didn’t have any experience in an ARCA car much as it will be for Elko. Practice is going to be important for us to utilize what we learned at Berlin and see if we find a pace that we can contend with those guys in the top-five.
“I’m hoping that a smaller track will perhaps even bring the field closer together this weekend and create some good side-by-side racing.”
Van Alst has heard and seen from studying previous Elko Speedway ARCA races that tire conservation is key and could be the formula that propels his family-owned team to Victory Lane.
“Managing your pace helps you manage your tires and those with the best grip will be near the front contending for the win on Saturday night, I just hope it’s us.”
Chris Barkdull’s CB Fabricating, a longtime partner with Greg Van Alst Motorsports has boosted its commitment to the team and will continue its role as the primary marketing partner of Van Alst’s No. 35 Ford Fusion.
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.
“A string of four consecutive top-10 finishes is the type of pace that will keep Chris and everyone on this team in it for the long haul. He continues to be excited about the path and longevity of our team and so am I. We’re ready for a return to the top five though and that’s what we are focused on.
“With every race complete, it’s a small victory for our team knowing the large mountain that is still left to climb. I’m thankful to have the support of Chris and CB Fabricating.”
In addition to CB Fabricating, Top Choice Fence, Norton Transport, KRJ Race Products and Lintz Creative will serve as associate marketing partners for Van Alst’s 19th career ARCA start.
Entering Elko, Van Alst sits a career-high sixth in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, two points out of fifth and 57 markers in the arrears to championship leader Rajah Caruth.
“Step by step and with a little luck, I hope we will soon find ourselves a part of the championship picture,” sounded Van Alst. “We should be competing for top-five runs on a consistent basis, but this is a tough series and we are still proud of where we are at.
“We will get there eventually.”
The Menards 250 (250 laps | 94 miles) is the eighth of 20 races on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule. A final practice begins on Saturday, June 25, 2022, from 3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. General Tire Pole Qualifying will follow shortly after starting at 5:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV and FloRacing beginning at 8:30 p.m.ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (CT).