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Bridget Burgess
Bridget Burgess (Photo: Ruby Wallau/ARCA Racing)

NOTEBOOK: West Series competitors set up shop at Sonoma ahead of General Tire 200

There are 615 miles between Portland, Oregon, and Sonoma, California. That equates to a 10-hour drive on a good day, so while it’s not a long drive by some standards, it’s hardly a short one.

For that reason, it made sense for several ARCA Menards Series West teams who competed in the Portland 112 last weekend at Portland International Raceway to head straight to the site of Saturday’s General Tire 200, Sonoma Raceway.

It’s all about location, location, location.

ARCA at Sonoma: Entry list | Complete event schedule

Sarah and Bridget Burgess
Sarah and Bridget Burgess (Photo: Meg Oliphant/ARCA Racing)

A perfect example of that is Bridget Burgess, whose family team is based out of the Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, Utah. It made little sense for Burgess’ team to travel back to Utah from Portland and then turn right around and head to Sonoma Raceway.

For reference, the trip from Portland to Tooele, Utah, would have been approximately 796 miles. Then the trip from Tooele to Sonoma would have been an additional 702 miles, one way.

Instead of making those two long drivers in the same week, Burgess’ team packed up its equipment at Portland International Raceway and traveled directly to Sonoma Raceway.

They, along with two other ARCA Menards Series West teams, have been working out of the garages at Sonoma Raceway this week in advance of the General Tire 200 (11:10 a.m. PT / 2:10 p.m. ET on FloRacing).

Another driver and team working out of the Sonoma Raceway garages this week is Dale Quarterley and his Quarterley Racing program. The commute for his team is even longer than it would have been for Burgess’ team, with Quarterley’s program based on the other side of the United States in Mooresville, North Carolina.

The last driver and team to spend the week at Sonoma Raceway was Takuma Koga and the Jerry Pitts Racing team. Koga makes the commute from Japan to the United States for every West Series race, so he has the longest commute of any West Series driver.

Saturday’s General Tire 200 at Sonoma Raceway is the second of three road course races on the ARCA Menards Series West schedule this year. Jake Drew triumphed last weekend at Portland International Raceway.

Following Saturday’s race at Sonoma Raceway, West Series teams will have to wait until Sept. 3 for the final road course race of the season and second trip of the year to Portland International Raceway.

Truck Series competitors looking for extra experience

Dean Thompson, driver of the #51 Thompson Pipegroup Ford, prepares for qualifying laps during the NAPA Auto Parts 150 for the ARCA Menards Series West at Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, California on July 3, 2021. (Meg Oliphant/ARCA Racing)
Dean Thompson, driver of the No. 51 Thompson Pipegroup Ford, prepares for qualifying during the NAPA Auto Parts 150 for the ARCA Menards Series West at Irwindale Speedway on July 3, 2021. (Photo: Meg Oliphant/ARCA Racing)

In addition to Saturday’s ARCA Menards Series West event at Sonoma Raceway, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to the venue this Saturday for the first time since 1998.

As a result, most of the drivers entered in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series DoorDash 250 have either never raced at Sonoma or have very little experience at the popular road course located in the heart of California wine country.

A trio of Truck Series competitors are entered to compete in the General Tire 200 in order to gain a little extra experience for the DoorDash 250.

They include GMS Racing’s Jack Wood, Niece Motorsports’ Dean Thompson and McAnally-Hilgemann Racing’s Colby Howard.

Wood has one previous start in West Series competition at Sonoma, which resulted in a 16th-place finish in 2019. Thompson also has one previous West Series start at Sonoma, earning a sixth-place finish last season.

“I’m excited to head back to my home state and to a track that I have familiarity with in Sonoma,” said Thompson. “The ability to compete in the ARCA Menards Series West race will be a good confidence-booster for me prior to running the Truck Series race and that ability to bring some notes back to our No. 40 Worldwide Express team works as an advantage for us this weekend.”

That leaves Howard, who has never raced at Sonoma.

With any luck, the extra experience gained from competing in the General Tire 200 will help all three drivers in the DoorDash 250 later Saturday afternoon.

Landen Lewis returns to West Series

The last time Landen Lewis competed in the ARCA Menards Series West, he visited Victory Lane at California’s Kern County Raceway Park.

He’s going to try and repeat that performance Saturday at Sonoma.

Lewis was a late addition to the General Tire 200 entry list. Initially NASCAR Camping World Truck Series star Carson Hocevar was scheduled to compete aboard the No. 17 for Cook Racing Technologies in order to gain experience for the DoorDash 250 later in the day.

However, following a crash on the last lap of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway last week, Hocevar opted to skip Saturday’s West Series event.

Enter Lewis, who will now make his ARCA road course debut on short notice.

 

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NOTES:

  • Brian Kamisky will make his season debut with the ARCA Menards Series West during Saturday’s General Tire 200. He competed in four races last year, earning a best finish of 13th at All American Speedway in Roseville, California.
  • Another driver making his first start of the season Saturday at Sonoma is Rodd Kneeland, who competed in the two road course races last year. He finished 22nd last year at Sonoma.
  • Ryan Philpott also returns to West Series competition after only competing at Sonoma last year. He started 20th but raced through the field to ultimately finish ninth.
  • The father-son combination of P.J. and Paul Pedroncelli consider this a home race since they reside in Sonoma, California. P.J. Pedroncelli has raced at Sonoma five times in West Series competition, finishing third last year behind winner Chase Briscoe and runner-up Dylan Lupton. His father, Paul Pedroncelli, finished 13th in his first Sonoma start last year.