Landen Lewis has been turning heads since winning his first ARCA Menards Series race last season at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
One of the heads he recently turned was that of Bill McAnally, the owner of Bill McAnally Racing.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Lewis would take over driving duties of the No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet fielded by McAnally for the remainder of the ARCA Menards Series West schedule, beginning with Saturday’s NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at California’s Irwindale Speedway (7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET on FloRacing).
It’s a big moment for Lewis, who earned his first West Series victory earlier this season at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California, while driving for Cook Racing Technologies.
“I am extremely excited for this amazing opportunity to run the number 16 NAPA Chevy for BMR and to be able to work with Charlie Wilson and the guys,” said Lewis, who takes over the No. 16 from Austin Herzog. “I have always watched the McAnally cars, and it has been a dream of mine to be able to drive for Bill.”
— Landen lewis (@landenlewis99) June 29, 2022
Lewis, 16, has been getting a lot of help along the way from four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. Hornaday has been serving as a mentor to Lewis, which makes the deal to drive the No. 16 for McAnally that much sweeter for the young star.
“I also find it pretty awesome that my biggest mentor, Ron Hornaday, drove the number 16 NAPA truck,” Lewis said. “So it’s pretty neat to have NAPA on the car and it being the number 16 is icing on top of the cake. I am looking forward to getting out to the West Coast and working with the team.”
Hornaday, who made his last start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2014, is excited to see what Lewis can achieve while driving for McAnally.
“This is a pretty cool opportunity for Landen,” Hornaday said. “I have known Bill for a long time, and I think this is a perfect fit for Landen. I look forward to seeing him carrying my old colors and number with NAPA. Landen is a type of driver when put to the test he always exceeds our expectations. I am excited to see what Landen can do with this team and these new tracks he will be going to.”
Lewis will contest the remaining six races of the schedule as a teammate to Cole Moore, who will continue to drive the No. 99 Chevrolet for McAnally.
McAnally, who has captured 11 West Series championships as a car owner during his tenure in the series, credited Hornaday with helping put the deal together to have Lewis drive his No. 16.
“We’re very excited to have Landen join BMR,” said McAnally. “Ron Hornaday brought him to our attention and we have been very impressed with what we’ve seen. We will work hard to help Landen reach his full potential. I’m confident that he will put the No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy in Victory Lane.”
Kyle Keller, Jerry Pitts Racing form alliance
Kyle Keller is looking to take his ARCA Menards Series West program to a higher level, and a new partnership with team owner Jerry Pitts could be just the ticket.
The deal, which was announced June 12 via Keller’s Facebook page, will see Keller work with Pitts for all of Keller’s remaining West Series events this year, beginning with Saturday’s race at Irwindale Speedway.
Keller has made five previous West Series starts dating back to 2020, earning a best finish of fourth at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This year, he has made two West Series starts, securing finishes of 32nd at Phoenix Raceway and 12th at Kern County.
When not competing in the West Series, Keller has been racing Late Models at another California oval, Madera Speedway.
Last weekend, the 17-year-old Keller emerged as the winner of an 80-lap Pro Late Model feature at Madera, which has catapulted him into the division championship lead. He’ll look to carry that momentum into Saturday’s 150-lap West Series race at Irwindale.
Jake Finch heads to Irwindale for West Series debut
After turning in strong performances on the East Coast, Jake Finch is taking his driving talents West this week.
Finch will make his ARCA Menards Series West debut Saturday at Irwindale. He’ll once again drive the No. 1 Phoenix Racing Toyota for his father, former NASCAR Cup Series team owner James Finch.
His maiden West Series start is part of an ambitious schedule that Finch has been pursing this year as he looks to gain experience in bigger stock cars. He made his ARCA Menards Series East debut earlier this year at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida, finishing eighth.
He followed that up with starts at Dover Motor Speedway and Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, earning his first East Series pole and a runner-up finish to race winner Sammy Smith at Nashville.
When not racing on the ARCA platform, Finch has been keeping busy racing Late Models at a variety of tracks. He most recently raced a Super Late Model at Tri-County Motor Speedway last Saturday, finishing eighth in a 17-car field that included some of the best Super Late Model competitors the region has to offer.
- Jake Finch won’t be the only competitor making his West Series debut Saturday. Also making their maiden West Series starts will be Bradley Erickson and Jalen Mack. Erickson is a regular Late Model competitor in California, and Mack’s father, Lloyd Mack Jr., previously made nine West Series starts during his driving career.
- Entering Saturday’s race, Jake Drew holds a 35-point advantage in the standings ahead of Todd Souza. Drew has won the last two West Series events at Portland International Raceway and Sonoma Raceway, respectively.
- A month after making his last start on the ARCA platform, Christian Rose returns to action Saturday at Irwindale. He last raced at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 27, finishing 16th after his engine expired.