The 2023 season in the ARCA Menards Series West was everything for which Sean Hingorani could have hoped.
In his rookie campaign with Venturini Motorsports, Hingorani has tallied four West Series victories, two poles, six top fives and led a series-high 385 laps. The efficiency displayed throughout the year means Hingorani only needs to finish 25th or better in Friday’s Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 100 at Phoenix Raceway to become the first driver of Indian descent to win a West Series title.
Hingorani wishes he could have enjoyed the stellar season just a bit longer, but his focus is on putting together the best possible performance at Phoenix so he can earn one more victory and quash any doubts related to the title.
“Our chances are pretty good of locking up the championship,” Hingorani said. “We just have to go out there, complete all the laps and finish the race. The Venturini Motorsports guys are going to bring me a great piece for Phoenix, so even though we have to finish 25th or higher, I still want to go out there and win this race.”
Hingorani said Venturini Motorsports has played a crucial role in helping him become one of the best drivers in the West Series.
Having claimed three ARCA Menards Series championships and developed NASCAR Cup Series starts like Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman, Erik Jones and others, Venturini Motorsports was more than prepared to tackle their first West Series campaign with Hingorani behind the wheel.
Despite dealing with a few growing pains, the partnership between Hingorani and Venturini Motorsports has been a success across the entire ARCA platform. During off weekends for the West Series, Hingorani piloted a Venturini Motorsports car in both the main ARCA division and the ARCA Menards Series East, scoring two poles and eight combined top fives.
The experience obtained by leaning on everyone at Venturini Motorsports is something Hingorani believes has made him a better driver as the year has progressed. Hingorani believes he is more prepared to tackle Friday’s 100-lap event at Phoenix compared to when the West Series opened the season there in March.
Phoenix was the site of one of Hingorani’s worst performances in the entire 2023 season, as mechanical issues relegated him to a 16th place finish. Despite the rough night, Hingorani found value in the time he had on track and now feels confident he can conquer Phoenix with a victory.
Regardless of how everything plays out on Friday afternoon, Hingorani is grateful for the hard work his Venturini Motorsports crew has put in to have him on the precipice of adding his name to a notable list of West Series champions.
“There were a lot of ups and downs,” Hingorani said. “We started the season terrible at Phoenix, and that was hard for us. We were able to come back with four wins, and now we’re looking for five at Phoenix. This was just a really good season with my guys, and as a team, we worked hard together.
“Here we are now looking at this championship that is so close.”
Keeping his car out of trouble in Friday’s Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 100 will be imperative for Hingorani to maintain control of the West Series points lead in the final race of the year, which will commence at 11:30 a.m. MT/2:30 p.m. ET on Friday.
Dylan ‘Mamba’ Smith bringing the hype to the West Series
As NASCAR’s Chief Hype Officer, Dylan “Mamba” Smith’s job is to ensure everyone around him has fun.
On Friday at Phoenix Raceway, Smith will bring that same passion to the driver’s seat for the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 100. He will pilot the No. 02 Flag Pole Buddy Chevrolet for Young’s Motorpsorts in his debut appearance in the ARCA Menards Series West.
A part-time competitor with starts in Pro Late Models and Late Model Stocks, Smith is teaming up with Tyler Young for the second time in his career. The duo most recently competed together in the ARCA Menards Series at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park last July, when Smith brought home a solid ninth-place finish in a 24-car field.
Smith is looking to continue the momentum Young’s Motorsports experienced in their last West Series start at Phoenix. Leland Honeyman managed to lead 21 laps in a Young’s Motorsports car in the season-opener back in March before settling for a solid lead-lap finish of eighth.
A strong field stands in the way of Smith earning another top 10 for Young’s Motorsports, but plenty of hype surrounds the team as they seek to end 2023 on a high note.
Kaden Honeycutt running four races in two days … on two coasts
There will be no rest for Kaden Honeycutt as he embarks on a busy weekend of racing across the United States.
Honeycutt’s schedule begins with his pulling double duty in Friday’s Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 100 and the succeeding NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series finale. He will then take a flight to North Carolina to compete in Saturday’s Pro Late Model and Late Model Stock races at Caraway Speedway.
The primary order of business for Honeycutt this weekend is to wrap up the ARCA Menards Series West owner’s championship for MMI Racing. The No. 17 currently holds an 18-point advantage over the No. 15 operated by Venturini Motorsports after taking advantage of a late, inconsistent stretch from Hingorani.
Honeycutt also played his own substantial role in securing a comfortable lead for MMI Racing in the owner’s points. Since taking over the No. 17 after Evergreen Speedway, Honeycutt has won two of the last three West Series races, leading a combined total of 296 laps in those victories.
With momentum on his side, Honeycutt needs one more strong performance to secure the West Series owner’s title and build up confidence ahead of his other three planned starts between Friday and Saturday.
- ARCA Menards Series East champion William Sawalich is looking to close out a terrific 2023 season by claiming his first victory in West Series competition. Sawalich nearly won his first race on the ARCA platform during the West Series opener at Phoenix in the Spring, only to get spun by Bradley Erickson on the penultimate restart of the night.
- Landen Lewis was right in the middle of the West Series championship hunt alongside Sean Hingorani until he and MMI Racing agreed to part ways after the race at Evergreen Speedway. Lewis returns to the West Series this weekend driving the No. 97 for CR7 Motorsports. He hopes to claim his second victory of the year.
- Rev Racing is bringing two cars to Phoenix for Friday’s West Series finale, with the No. 2 set to be driven by Sebastian Arias. The Bogota, Columbia native has made nine starts in the West Series during his career, with his best performances being two eighths in 2022, both of which came at Irwindale Speedway.
- Two West Coast veterans will close out the 2023 West Series season for Lowden-Jackson Motorsports, which looks to bookend the year with Phoenix wins. Johnny Borneman III, a three-time West Series winner, takes over the No. 41 that won at Phoenix in March, while Justin Johnson makes his first West Series start since 2010 in the No. 46.