Tyler Reif rises to the occasion, earns first ARCA Menards Series victory at Phoenix Raceway

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Tyler Reif was fast in practice Friday at Phoenix Raceway, and when it counted most, he was fast during the General Tire 150.

Reif, making just his third start on the ARCA platform for Lowden-Jackson Motorsports, emerged as the winner of the annual ARCA Menards Series and ARCA Menards Series West combination race after a pair of green-white-checkered restarts.

The race wasn’t without setbacks for Reif, who was involved in a crash on Lap 11 that damaged the rear of his car. Quick work by the Lowden-Jackson Motorsports crew kept him in the race, work that would pay dividends later with a trip to Victory Lane.

RELATED: Results from the General Tire 150 at Phoenix

“Got in a racing incident at [Lap 11], got turned, no big deal,” said Reif, who is racing full-time in both the ARCA Menards Series West and ARCA Menards Series East this year. “Kept our heads straight and fought back to the lead.

“This team is so good to get this car hooked up. I’m happy. There are just no words to describe this.”

For much of the evening it appeared as though William Sawalich, who was making his ARCA platform debut for Joe Gibbs Racing, would be the driver celebrating in Victory Lane.

However, during the first green-white-checkered restart, Sawalich spun from the race lead after contact with third-place Bradley Erickson. That suddenly handed the lead to Reif, the younger brother of two-time West Series race winner Tanner Reif.

During the ensuing restart, second-place Landen Lewis got a massive jump and took the lead as Reif found himself battling for second with Erickson.

Reif quickly dispatched Erickson and set his sights on Lewis. Reif caught him coming out of Turn 2 on the final lap and made the race-winning move entering Turn 3 to secure his first ARCA Menards Series and ARCA Menards Series West triumphs.

Lewis crossed the finish line second after leading at the white flag. Erickson, who raced within the top-five for much of the night, finished third.

Andres Perez de Lara overcame multiple setbacks to finish fourth, and Kyle Keller crossed the finish line in fifth.

Frankie Muniz, who lives in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona, earned his first top-10 result in just his second ARCA Menards Series start with a sixth-place finish. Conner Jones, Leland Honeyman Jr., Trevor Huddleston and Daytona winner Greg Van Alst completed the top 10.

The ARCA Menards Series returns to action April 22 with the running of the General Tire 200 at Talladega Superspeedway, which will broadcast live on FS1 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

ARCA Menards Series West competitors return to action on April 1 when the series visits California’s Irwindale Speedway for the running of the West Coast Stock Car Motorsports Hall of Fame 150. Fans will be able to watch that event live at 10 p.m. ET on FloRacing.