Return to form: Sean Hingorani dominates first leg of Irwindale Speedway doubleheader

IRWINDALE, Calif. — On Independence Day at Irwindale Speedway, Sean Hingorani provided fans and drivers a reminder as to how he won the 2023 ARCA Menards Series West championship.

After taking the lead from polesitter Tyler Reif on the initial start, Hingorani never looked back. The Newport Coast, California native led every lap in the NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by West Coast Stock Car Motorsports Hall of Fame before fending off a charge from Venturini Motorsports teammate Isabella Robusto for his first win of 2024.

RELATED: Complete results from Irwindale

Hingorani admitted it took every piece of knowledge about racing to prevent Robusto from overtaking him in the closing stages. He commended Robusto for her spirited drive but also his Venturini crew members for making his No. 15 Fidelity Capital Toyota so efficient.

“[The car] was really fast,” Hingorani said. “I had to work for it there at the end, so congrats to Isabella. She was rolling, [but we] were dominant all race, so I’m thankful for all my guys.”

It was a welcomed reunion for Hingorani and Venturini in their first official race together on the 2024 West Series season.

Hingorani opened the year at Phoenix Raceway driving for Hattori Racing Enterprises, and he started his title defense with a fifth-place finish. After his deal with Hattori fell through, Hingorani spent the next three races bouncing between Sigma Performance Services and Jerry Pitts Racing, all while staying within striking distance of the points lead.

Venturini welcomed Hingorani back into the program during the Berlin ARCA 200 last Saturday, placing third behind race-winner William Sawalich.

The cohesion Hingorani displayed in a Venturini car throughout 2023 was apparent at Irwindale all day Thursday. No one in the field could match Hingorani’s efficiency on corner entry and drive off, with his only real opposition in Robusto materializing after his car started to get loose.

Robusto utilized every part of Irwindale’s unique layout to gain ground on Hingorani but could not find a way around for the lead. Despite having to settle for second, Robusto was satisfied with her debut appearance at Irwindale and is eager to have another shot at a victory there before the weekend concludes.

“This was my first time coming to Irwindale Speedway,” Robusto said. “It’s a really cool race track. I definitely learned on every lap today, so coming back on Saturday, I think we’ll have a good baseline to fire off and hopefully get this JBL Toyota Camry on the pole and [get] the win.”

Hingorani found plenty to be sentimental about as he climbed the fence and celebrated with Irwindale’s crowd. Not only did he re-establish the magic he had with Venturini, but it occurred at the facility where Hingorani picked up his maiden West Series triumph last year.

Sean Hingorani
Sean Hingorani celebrated with the Irwindale Speedway crowd by performing a fence climb that has become synonymous with his victories. (Photo: Katelyn Mulcahy/ARCA Racing)

Hingorani envisions more victories if he is able to maintain the speed he displayed Thursday, but the most pressing matter in the moment was to cherish his win at a renowned track that has meant so much to him and the racing community over the years.

“I wanted to thank all the fans,” Hingorani said. “[There were] packed stands [on Thursday], and this is a great show [track operator] Tim [Huddleston] puts on. I’m really excited to be at Irwindale, my home track, and to get back to Victory Lane here.”

Jake Finch successfully completed a sweep of the top three positions for Venturini on Thursday at Irwindale. Trevor Huddleston came home fourth in his hometown race, with Reif fading from the pole to complete the top five.

Thursday’s NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by West Coast Stock Car Motorsports Hall of Fame made up the first race in three nights for the ARCA Menards Series West at Irwindale Speedway. The West Series is back racing at Irwindale on Saturday at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET, with FloRacing providing live coverage.