William Sawalich to run 6 NASCAR Truck races in 2023

Although Toyota’s driver development programme took a hit following Kyle Busch and his team’s move to Chevrolet, they still have plenty of talent in the pipeline. One of them is William Sawalich, who will pursue the 2023 ARCA Menards Series championship for Joe Gibbs Racing. Although he has yet to even make a start in ARCA, Toyota is also giving him reps in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as he will run six races in the #1 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro for TRICON Garage.

Sawalich has been one of the rising prospects in his seven-year racing career, primarily competing in late models. In 2022, he recorded six wins in the CARS Tour Pro Late Model Series and two in the Southern Super Series, among others. He joined JGR in December on a multi-year deal.

“Late model racing is a foundational piece in the history of our race team, and it has been a pleasure to watch William’s success and maturation in those series,” said TRICON owner David Gilliland. “We believe he will fit right in at TRICON and we are super excited to have him as part of our driver lineup.”

At only sixteen years of age, born months after the releases of the iconic racing films Cars and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Sawalich will be the youngest driver to compete in a NASCAR national tier.

His Truck début will take place at Martinsville Speedway on 14 April. Three months later, he returns to the series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on 8 July followed by Richmond Raceway (29 July), Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park (11 August), Milwaukee Mile (27 August), and Bristol Motor Speedway (14 September). The ARCA Menards Series is also supporting the Mid-Ohio, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Bristol rounds, with Sawalich running both series on the same day at all but Mid-Ohio.

“I am excited to work with the Gray and Gilliland families and everyone at TRICON,” Sawalich commented. “I know that the team will put forth a great effort to make sure that we have the best equipment and best teams around us. 2023 is going to be a huge year for my growth between ARCA and Trucks, and I am confident that I will learn a lot and be able to perfect my craft as a Toyota development driver here.”

Sawalich’s ARCA car and truck will be sponsored by hearing aid manufacturer Starkey Hearing, which his father Brandon Sawalich oversees as President and CEO.

Under their previous name David Gilliland Racing, TRICON Garage fielded the #1 full-time for Hailie Deegan in 2022, though the partnership ended as the team switched from Ford to Toyota. As the #1 shifts to a limited slate for Sawalich, TRICON will have the #5 for Dean Thompson, #11 for Corey Heim, #15 for Tanner Gray, and #17 for Taylor Gray and a to-be-announced driver as Taylor is too young to run the first three races. The Grays’ grandfather Johnny co-owns the team.