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ARCA Menards Series West
Cars in action during the Star Nursery 150 for the ARCA Menards Series West at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sept. 23, 2021. (Miranda Alam/ARCA Racing)

NOTEBOOK: West Series primed to produce new All American Speedway winner

Even at just 0.333 miles in length, All American Speedway in Roseville, California, is one of the toughest tracks the ARCA Menards Series West visits. Proof lies in the fact that the venue’s annual West Series race has produced 11 different winners over the last 11 years.

We’re guaranteed to see a 12th in 2021.

Saturday night’s NAPA AutoCare 150 presented by Berco RedwoodΒ at All American Speedway (6:45 p.m. PT / 9:45 p.m. ET on TrackPass) arrives with 23 cars entered, and none of the drivers who will compete on the paved oval have a win at the track in the West Series.

NAPA AutoCare 150: Entry List | Schedule | Preview

ARCA Menards Series West
Cars in action during the NAPA Auto Parts 150 for the ARCA Menards Series West at Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, California, on Aug. 21, 2021. (Meg Oliphant/ARCA Racing)

Further, almost half of the drivers entered will be making their All American debuts in the series. Jolynn “JoJo” Wilkinson, Jake Drew, Chris Lowden, Amber Slagle, Paul Pedroncelli, Christian Rose, Dean Thompson, Joey Iest, Caleb Costner and Brian Kamisky have no experience on the track in a West Series car.

Three more drivers in the field — Taylor Gray, Bobby Hillis Jr. and Jesse Love — have just one West Series start in Roseville, all in last year’s event. The entries with multiple West starts at All American include Bridget Burgess, Trevor Huddleston, Takuma Koga, Todd Souza, Josh Fanopoulos, P.J. Pedroncelli, Stafford Smith, Travis Milburn and Cole Moore.

Gray, of course, enters Saturday night’s race feeling as though he should have a chance to repeat as an All American winner in the West Series for the first time since Paulie Harraka pulled off consecutive victories in 2009-10.

Gray was leading on the penultimate lap of last season’s race at All American before Gio Scelzi found room on Gray’s inside through Turns 3-4. Amid some contact, Gray cut a tire and spun in Turn 1 of the final lap, allowing Scelzi to score his first series victory.

Gray finished seventh despite leading a race-high 116 laps.

Now riding a two-race win streak in the West Series, Gray will be among the favorites to reach Victory Lane in Roseville and make up for his missed opportunity in 2020.

Home game for Bill McAnally Racing

Saturday night’s NAPA AutoCare 150 presented by Berco Redwood is a big one for West Series powerhouse Bill McAnally Racing, and not just because one of its drivers, Love, is trying to position himself for his second consecutive series championship.

All American Speedway, located about 20 miles Northeast of downtown Sacramento, is BMR’s home track. The team’s facility is located just a few miles away.

The West Series has held 17 races at All American since it returned to the then-newly reconfigured track in 2008, and BMR cars have won nine of those events, including Scelzi’s triumph last season.

Both of BMR’s full-time West Series drivers, Love and Moore, are also from the area. Love is from Menlo Park, and Moore is from Granite Bay. The team’s third entry, Wilkinson, is from Hueytown, Alabama. She’ll make her third series start Saturday.

Love enters the penultimate race of the 2021 West Series season with a seven-point lead in the championship standings over Drew in second place. A strong run at his home track would position the 16-year-old Love nicely for the season finale next month at Phoenix Raceway.

As for Moore, who sits third in points, seven back from Drew, a strong run at All American could put him in position to potentially steal the title for himself at Phoenix.

And more:

  • With two races remaining in the West Series season, the top five drivers in the championship standings — Jesse Love, Jake Drew, Cole Moore, Joey Iest and P.J. Pedroncelli — are separated by just 15 points.
  • Caleb Costner will aim for what technically would be his first West Series start Saturday at All American driving for Joe Nava. The Dallas, North Carolina, native entered last month’s West Series race at Portland International Raceway for what would have been his debut, but he did not start the race.
  • Chris Lowden, a 56-year-old from Las Vegas, will make just his second West Series start Saturday. His debut came last year at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he finished 15th. As he did last season, Lowden on Saturday will drive John Wood’s No. 11 Stoney’s Rockin Country Las Vegas Ford.
  • Amber Slagle, a mechanic for Cook Racing Technologies who has served atop pit boxes for that team in the ARCA Menards Series East, will make her third West Series start Saturday at All American driving for Steve McGowan.
  • Christian Rose will make his second West Series start Saturday driving Bruce Cook’s No. 42 Toyota with West Virginia Tourism on the hood. Rose logged a top-10 finish (10th) in his debut last month at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.