KANSAS CITY, Kan: In a matter of two months, Greg Van Alst embraced one of the best days of his life when he captured his first career ARCA Menards Series victory at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February.
A little more than eight weeks later, Van Alst suffered one of the worst days of his life, when his father and hero, Bruce Van Alst courageously lost his battle with cancer.
Removed from his father’s funeral on Wednesday, somehow Van Alst and his all-volunteer-based team will make the trek to Kansas Speedway to partake in Friday’s open test session at the 1.5-mile while looking to Saturday afternoon’s Dawn 150 as an opportunity to race in Bruce’s honor.
“I cannot begin to describe the emotions,” said Van Alst. “My dad was my best friend, my hero, my everything. I can’t believe he is gone but his memory and his spirit live on. I don’t know how we are picking up the pieces to move on, but that is what he would want us to do.”
Van Alst returns to the Kansas City, Kan.-based track, the site of his first career top-10 ARCA Menards Series finish in 2021 hoping to rebound from a disappointing Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway finish – but also having the opportunity to win his second race in his fifth start at an intermediate race track.
“It is going to be hard to put that helmet on this weekend knowing my Dad isn’t at the track with us or watching from, but I’ll say a prayer before the race knowing he will be listening.
“Winning on Saturday would probably trump our unbelievable win at Daytona because as we have showcased since our return to the ARCA Menards Series two years ago, nothing beats family.”
The Anderson, Ind. native is hopeful the open practice session on Friday will allow his Jim Long-led team the opportunity to dial in his No. 35 Greg Van Alst Motorsports | CB Fabricating Ford Fusion and collect his third top-10 finish of the season.
“I love racing at Kansas Speedway, I feel like it is one of my better race tracks,” added Van Alst. “The track has developed some bumps over the past few years which has added to its characteristics, but as we have seen time and time again – the track produces some good racing and I do not expect anything different on Saturday afternoon.
“We are hoping the test on Friday will get us that much closer for race day. We have a few things we want to try with the setup. It is all about finding a good comfort zone and finding a rhythm that we can quickly pick up on for Saturday’s events.”
Chris Barkdull’s CB Fabricating, a longtime partner with Greg Van Alst Motorsports has boosted its commitment to the team for his 35th career ARCA start and will serve as the primary marketing partner of Van Alst’s No. 35 Ford.
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.
“Chris has been there every step of the way and has been incredibly supportive and a great friend since learning of my dad’s passing,” added Van Alst. “In our moment of mourning, he stepped up to the plate to make sure that we were fine to go racing at Kansas Speedway this weekend and that means so much to me and my family.
“He is an incredible person whose love and passion for Motorsports is undeniable. His support has meant so much to our team and I’d love nothing more than take him back to Victory Lane on Saturday.”
Looking ahead to Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and the upcoming stretch of the summer ARCA Menards Series races on deck, Van Alst will utilize the fourth race of the season to 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 very simple and I believe easy to use and very self-explanatory,” added Van Alst. “We had a lot of help for Daytona and Talladega and because of the situation with my dad, we did not put a lot of emphasis on Kansas but we will for Charlotte and the other races coming up this summer.
“I hope we’ll have more help throughout the season – but there are plenty of races that are unsold in various locations and I’m hoping this platform will allow us to fill that space.”
Along with CB Fabricating and SponsorTeam35.com, the team welcomes the additional support of Johnson’s Family Plumbing, Top Choice Fence and Vern’s Concrete.
Entering Kansas, Van Alst sits third in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, 13 markers in the arrears to championship leader Frankie Muniz with 17 races remaining.
The Greg Van Alst Motorsports team secures fifth in the ARCA Menards Series championship owner standings, 30 points from the top spot held by Rev Racing.
Since 2002, Van Alst has 34 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 16 top-10 finishes and holds an average series finish of 13.9. He finished a career-high fifth in the championship standings in 2022.
The Dawn 150 (100 laps | 150 miles) is the fourth of 20 races on the 2023 ARCA Menards Series schedule in the 71st consecutive ARCA season. Practice begins Saturday, May 6 from 9:25 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. General Tire pole qualifying in a timed session will begin a short time later at 10:10 a.m. The race is set to take the green flag shortly after 1:00 p.m. CT (2:00 p.m. ET). The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) 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.