CONCORD, N.C.: Greg Van Alst headed to Kansas Speedway two weeks ago praying for some ARCA Menards Series luck.
Their prayers were answered.
After delivering his first top-10 finish of the season in the Dutch Boys 150 at Kansas, Van Alst and his Greg Van Alst Motorsports team now invade Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway hoping to continue its season turnaround in Friday night’s General Tire 150.
In the opening four races of the year, Van Alst, the Anderson, Indiana native hasn’t lacked speed from his No. 35 CB Fabricating Chevrolet and Ford race cars, but the seasoned veteran has struggled to have lady luck on his side.
That was until he returned to Kansas Speedway, the site of his first career top-10 ARCA finish in 2021. Backing up a solid pace from practice, Van Alst was able to advance three spots from his 10th place starting position and finish seventh – the same result he delivered last spring.
Feeling confident about his team’s performance in the Land of Oz, Van Alst has cleaned his No. 35 CB Fabricating Ford Fusion ready to do battle at Charlotte’s 1.5-mile speedway and better his 14th place finish last May.
“We are feeling really pretty good right about now,” said Van Alst. “We are finally going in the right direction and that’s important for our small team. I feel like we have made some huge gains over the last two races, especially with our intermediate car at Kansas and I am excited to roll it out of the truck on Friday and see what kind of pace we have for the combined practice and qualifying session.
“I’m looking forward to Charlotte though. I feel that the experience I have gained will help us considerably this weekend. I also feel like Charlotte is the toughest intermediate track that we go to, so the amount of effort we put into our Charlotte race program is considerable.”
Having just forty-five minutes to dial in his No. 35 CB Fabricating Ford Fusion, Van Alst doesn’t mind the combined sessions as it allows his team to focus on a variety of angles while also knowing they can control their own destiny when it comes to putting up a qualifying lap.
“Having the combined practice and qualifying session is a little more relaxing for me,” added Van Alst. “It can be tough for any driver to just go out there and bolt out a fast lap. With this format, we can control when we are ready to go out there and lay down a fast lap.
“I do not mind either way though. I do like the combination of the two but I do miss the excitement that comes with just solo single-car qualifying.
But when it comes to chasing his first ARCA Menards Series trophy on Friday night, Van Alst knows the competition will be fierce but he says the performances he delivered throughout the 2021 ARCA Menards Series is what keeps him motivated to keep chasing checkered flags this season where he hopes to participate in all 20 ARCA events.
“We’re not making the same mistakes as last year,” added Van Alst. “We have learned so much about this car and what it likes and what it doesn’t, that I really feel like we’ll be in a good place to better our finish from last year at Charlotte.
“Being so fast in practice and qualifying last year and to have a finish as we did really threw water on our cake because we had some great momentum. A year later though, I know this team is a lot better and I hope we’re able to showcase that on Friday night with our finish.”
As for his goals for Friday night’s 100-lap contest, Van Alst would like to earn his second-career ARCA Menards Series top-five finish.
“We are hoping for a top-five finish on Friday,” sounded Van Alst. “I know it may be a tall task with some of the competition that we’ll be facing, but I think we can surprise some people on Friday as we did at the Daytona ARCA test in January.
“I think it’s easily forgotten that we were running third at Charlotte last year until we started having battery issues and ran out of laps to fully recover for a stronger finish.”
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.
“Everyone wants to run well at Charlotte because it’s in front of a big audience with a lot of people, team owners, partners you name it and Chris is no different. Like the last couple of races, Charlotte can prove to be a pinnacle race for our small team and 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 16th career ARCA start.
Entering Charlotte, Van Alst sits 10th in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, 18 points out of fifth and 55 markers in the arrears to championship leader Nick Sanchez.
“We have been fast but until Kansas,” sounded Van Alst. “We did not have the results to show for it. We should be competing for top-five runs, but this is a tough series and we are still proud of where we are at. Top-10 in points is still no slouch.”
For more on Greg Van Alst and Greg Van Alst Motorsports, please visit GregVanAlst.com, like them on Facebook (Van Alst Motorsports) and follow him on Twitter (@GregVanAlst35).
For more on CB Fabricating, please visit CBFabricating.com and like them on Facebook (CB Fabricating).
The General Tire 150 (100 laps | 150 miles) is the fifth of 20 races on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule. A combined practice and qualifying session begins on Friday, May 27, 2022, from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM channel 391, online channel 981 managing the radio waves beginning at 6:00 p.m. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (ET).