The ARCA Menards Series West has a long relationship with Sonoma Raceway, going all the way back to 1969 and predating the NASCAR Cup Series’ first appearance at the California road course by two full decades.
Saturday’s General Tire 200 added yet another race’s worth of on-track action and road course chaos to the track’s history books, including a fresh new slate of special award winners.
Rookie driver Jake Drew from Bob Bruncati’s Sunrise Ford Racing stable topped the leaderboard in qualifying for his first career General Tire Pole Award coming in just his second series start. Drew, a standout kart racer in California, laid down a lap of 1:41:848/89.074 mph on the track’s 2.52-mile “Carousel” layout.
Drew never got the chance to lead a lap, however, as outside polesitter Todd Souza got a great jump at the green flag. Race control reviewed the footage and issued a pass-through penalty to Souza for jumping the start, forcing the veteran racer to peel off to pit road from the lead near the end of the first lap.
NASCAR Cup Series rookie and 2016 ARCA Menards Series champion Chase Briscoe inherited the lead and never looked back, leading all 51 laps of the race. That slotted Briscoe in second place in the Valvoline Lap Leader standings for the West Series.
Briscoe’s ability to drive away from the snarling pack with ease was key to his victory, and fans voted Briscoe’s cruise to victory as the Reese’s Sweet Move of the Race.
Briscoe also joined Taylor Gray as a Richmond Water Heaters Halfway Leader in 2021 ARCA Menards Series West competition.
Some drivers were able to avoid being among the nine saddled with DNFs and leave Sonoma with fine finishes. Cole Moore, driving for Bill McAnally Racing, crossed the line fourth in his first West Series start at Sonoma and was named the Bounty Rookie of the Race.
With 72 points, Moore leads the Bounty Rookie of the Year standings, with Dean Thompson and Drew rounding out the rookie podium with 67 and 63 points to date, respectively.
Another standout performer was P.J. Pedroncelli, who was named the K&N Filters Hard Charger as a result of turning his 14th-place qualifying effort into a third-place finish. With his father Paul also in the field, P.J. easily set a new career mark for best finish, besting the 11th-place run he put together at Phoenix in March.
The ARCA Menards Series West will be back in action Saturday, July 3, at Irwindale Speedway for the NAPA Auto Parts 150. The race will be shown live on NBC Sports Gold’s TrackPass starting at 7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET.