For the fifth season in a row, the ARCA Menards Series West teams prepared for a unique doubleheader event on their schedule, with the Utah Motorsports Campus being the site of 2020’s twin bill. In each of the first four doubleheader weekends, the same driver managed to sweep both races on the weekend schedule. This was not the case for the ENEOS/Sunrise Ford Twins presented by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame races – Jesse Love (No. 19 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota) and Blaine Perkins (No. 9 Sunrise Ford/Four Star Fruit Ford) not only split the victories, but they split the haul of ARCA special awards as well.
Blaine Perkins started from the General Tire Pole in both races, but got to P1 in each race in different manners. Perkins put a hot lap of 81.898 mph on the board to roll from the top spot in the first race, and started from the very same spot in the second race by recording the fastest lap in the field over the course of the first race. These represented the first two pole awards of Perkins’ career and he joined Las Vegas Bullring polesitter Sam Mayer as the General Tire polesitters of the 2020 AMS West season.
Perkins quickly found himself in a dogfight with Jesse Love in the early stages of the first race, conceding the lead to Love after just nine laps. Perkins remained in hot pursuit for the rest of the first race but was never able to get back around Love to lead any more laps. Love led 23 of 31 laps in the first race, making him the Valvoline Lap Leader, while Perkins led the other eight laps. In the second race, Perkins never let Love get close enough to the lead and led all 30 laps in wire-to-wire fashion. The top of the yearly Valvoline Lap Leader standings still belongs to Sam Mayer, not entered at Utah, who led 138 of 150 laps in the season opener at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Perkins now slots into the second position with 38 laps led while Love is the only other lap leader on the year with 35 laps led.
Love and Perkins were flagged as the Richmond Water Heaters Halfway Leader one each, adding their names next to Sam Mayer as the 2020 AMS West halfway leaders so far.
As this is Perkins’ third full season in AMS West competition, there was one award he was ineligible to cash in on: the Bounty Rookie of the Race award. Instead, the 15-year old Love swept the award for the two races and holds a solid lead in the Bounty Rookie of the Year standings. Love’s 127 points place him 12 markers ahead of fellow rookie and Bill McAnally Racing teammate Gio Scelzi (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota) and his 115 points on the season. A third BMR teammate, Gracie Trotter (No. 99 ENEOS Toyota) ranks third with 114 rookie points.
15-year old Taylor Gray (No. 17 Ford Performance Ford) proved to be a quick learner in his road racing debut, driving from ninth to fourth during the first of the twin races and capturing the K&N Filters Hard Charger award in the process. In the second race, Gio Scelzi came home in fourth place as well after being place eighth on the grid, becoming the Hard Charger for the second half of the afternoon.
The ARCA Menards Series West will experience a quick turnaround to the next event on the schedule, the ENEOS 125 presented by NAPA Auto Parts at Irwindale Speedway. TrackPass on NBC Gold will carry live coverage of the event available to subscribers beginning at 9 ET on Saturday, July 4. NBCSN will air an edited version of the race on Sunday, July 12 at midnight Eastern.