DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.: On the heels of turning the fastest lap in ARCA Menards Series preseason testing at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway last month, driver Greg Van Alst has confirmed his team’s intention to attempt a full ARCA Menards Series schedule in 2022.
While additional partners are welcomed to help solidify the team’s commitment to running the full 20-race schedule beginning this weekend at Daytona, Van Alst and his current marketing partner CB Fabricating have committed to each other to attempt to pursue a championship in hopes of making it to the checkered flag of the season at Toledo Speedway in October.
“This is huge step for our team,” said Van Alst who returned to the ARCA Menards Series scene last February at Daytona after a 19-year absence. “We have all intentions of doing our best to start the year at Daytona and end the year at Toledo Speedway.
“We have purchased several race cars during the offseason and made some additional enhancements within our program since Kansas Speedway in October in hopes to be in a position to chase a championship.”
While Van Alst is incredibly thankful for the ongoing support of CB Fabricating owner Chris Barkdull, the two are actively seeking additional partners to cement their intentions.
“Chris has increased his commitment to our team this season, but we both acknowledge we still need more financial help to make this dream become a reality,” added Van Alst.
“His investment into our race program is helping us reach a huge milestone and at least make the attempt to run the full schedule.
“We are going to be working on a tight budget but we have zero intentions of cutting corners to get to the race-track. We just need to do everything in our power to try and not tear a lot of equipment and hope to avoid any catastrophic mechanical failures. If we can avoid that, I think we are going to be in good shape.”
The focus that Van Alst and crew chief Jim Long have asserted since Kansas Speedway in October within the family-owned team has already paid off with their preseason performance at the “World Center of Racing.”
Armed with the same No. 35 CB Fabricating Chevrolet that the Anderson, Ind. participated with last April at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway which had been repaired after a late-race accident, Van Alst was confident that the speed the car highlighted on the superspeedways in 2021 would continue into 2022.
He was right.
“Our expectations were to be fast, but we expected to be solid,” added Van Alst. “But the truth is that we had more speed than our honest expectations and that has our team feeling really, really good – even a couple of days since the test.
“Our car was fast in single-car runs and even better in the draft. It wasn’t dirty, it was very maneuverable and I was able to work with any manufacturer I wanted to. Whether it was a Chevrolet, Ford or Toyota – our car was really stable and that has me amped up for the race next month.
“It is still hard to believe this is real. I’ve watched so many races and Speedweeks from the couch with the dream of being there. Competing there is hard for me to explain what it means. I must block emotions and focus, but it still gives me chills going through the tunnel. The place is magical.”
The success of the test has already allowed the family-owned team to shift its focus to the second ARCA Menards Series race of the 2022 season at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway in March.
“I’ve never been to Phoenix, but I’m pumped about it,” added Van Alst. “This is our mojo right now. We have our schedule ironed out through Charlotte in May. Hopefully, if these just keep progressing – we can just keep extending our calendar and inch ahead to the summer months and before you know it we’ll be looking at the fall and the end of the season with an outlook on 2023.
“No one said any of this was going to be easy, but we are sure are going to enjoy the ride and look to make the most of every race. Every race is an opportunity for us and we don’t want to forget that.”
Before the team focuses on their inaugural run in Avondale, Van Alst set sights on his first career ARCA victory in Saturday afternoon’s Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire.
“Daytona is here and I’m ready,” sounded Van Alst. “This is it. This is our time to shine. I feel confident about our No. 35 CB Fabricating Chevrolet and I think we will be able to back up our speed and performance from the test in practice on Thursday to qualifying on Friday and then 80 laps on Saturday.
“Winning is everything as a race car driver and to do it at Daytona would be huge on such a big stage.”
The Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire (80 laps | 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Thurs., Feb. 17 with a fifty-minute session from 4:05 p.m. – 4:55 p.m. Group qualifying is set for Fri., Feb. 18 at 1:30 p.m. The season-opener for the 70th consecutive ARCA season is set the following afternoon on Feb. 19 to take the green flag shortly after 1:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) handling the radio waves. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities.