ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Austin Herzog has been named to drive the Bill McAnally Racing No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS in the ARCA Menards Series West for 2022.
The 19-year-old, third-generation driver from Clovis, California, will challenge for the overall series championship and the Bounty Rookie Challenge award as he runs the full schedule in the ARCA Menards Series West — with other select ARCA events possible during the year.
“We’re excited to welcome Austin to BMR, as he graduates to the ARCA Series,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “He has a great passion for racing. He has impressed us with his talent, and we expect to challenge for the title as we provide him the opportunity to reach his full potential at this level.”
Herzog has made one start in ARCA Menards Series West competition, netting an eighth-place finish at Kern County Raceway Park in 2018.
“It’s a real honor to be racing for such a prestigious racing team,” Herzog said. “I’ve always wanted to race for BMR. We’ve worked so hard to get here. This car (the NAPA 16) shows up and everybody has their eyes on it. It’s an honor to drive it.”
Likewise, Herzog looks forward to working with crew chief Travis Sharpe.
“We met him at the BMR Drivers Academy testing,” Herzog said. “We got to talk to him a little bit about these cars and learn a bit. We’ve raced at Kern County in our Late Model with him, too. Our relationship has grown a bunch. He doesn’t just crew chief the car; he helps me learn about it, too.”
— NAPA Racing (@NAPARacing) January 3, 2022
Herzog started his racing career and moved up through the ranks at Madera Speedway — following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Richard, and his father, Bryan, in competing at the third-mile oval in Central California.
He initially raced in Mini Cups, beginning at the age of 12. He finished third in the standings in 2014 and second in 2015 while racing at Madera, as well as Stockton 99 Speedway and All American Speedway in Roseville.
In 2016, Herzog raced in the inaugural season of the 51Fifty Jr. Late Model Series, where he scored four wins. He added two more victories in the series in 2017.
Herzog won the Rookie of the Year Award in the Pro Late Models in 2017 and finished as the runner-up in that division in 2018. That year, he also won the West Coast Nationals 100 Pro Late Model race at Orange Show Speedway and had an eighth-place finish in making his ARCA West debut that year at Kern County.
Herzog won the track championship in the Pro Late Model division in 2019. In addition, he registered a career-best finish of second in a Super Late Model race with the SRL Southwest Tour that year.
He will be the third graduate of the Jr. Late Model division to drive for BMR, following two-time West Series champion Jesse Love and 2018 West Series Rookie of the Year Hailie Deegan.
The 2022 season will mark BMR’s 32nd year with NAPA Auto Parts as a sponsor.
“We are proud of our long-term partnership with NAPA Auto Parts,” McAnally said. “We thank everyone at NAPA for their continued support. At BMR, our goal remains the same — to continue winning races and championships and provide NAPA with the best sales tool in this sport.
“In addition to NAPA, we want to thank the other great sponsors we have. We are grateful for their support and continued loyalty.”
They include NGK Spark Plugs, Gates Hydraulics and BBB Industries; as well as Carlyle Tools, Lincoln Electric, Racing Electronics, NAPA AutoCare and many other great sponsors. Coming on board this year is a new partnership with Nick Rowe and Rowe Environmental.
BMR and NAPA have partnered for a record 11 series championships, including six titles in the past seven years. They have also scored 106 overall wins in the East and West divisions of the ARCA Menards Series (formerly the NASCAR K&N Pro Series).