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ARCA Menards rewind: Takeaways from Irwindale Speedway

Jake Drew remains the hottest driver in the ARCA Menards Series West following another dominant performance during Saturday’s NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at Irwindale Speedway.

Drew was in his own league all evening at Irwindale, topping the combined practice/qualifying session before leading every lap of the sixth race on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series West schedule.

The triumph was Drew’s third straight victory in West Series competition, and it helped him further pad his lead in the West Series standings with more than half of the season now complete.

MORE IRWINDALE: Results | Highlights

While Drew dominated the day, there were several other storylines that emerged from Saturday’s race at Irwindale. Cole Moore finished second for the second time this year at Irwindale as he continues his pursuit of a West Series win. Also, the combination of Kyle Keller and Jerry Pitts paid dividends in their first race together.

Below are the key takeaways from Saturday’s NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at Irwindale Speedway.

Make it three for Jake Drew

After failing to find Victory Lane in his first 12 ARCA Menards Series West races, Jake Drew has now won three straight.

In fact, he is making winning the West Series look easy.

Drew led all 154 laps of the NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at Irwindale Speedway. Combined with the laps led from his victories at Portland International Raceway (31) and Sonoma Raceway (48), Drew has led 233 of a possible 252 laps in the last three West Series events.

That’s the definition of domination.

The victory further padded Drew’s led in the West Series standings, as he now has a 45-point advantage over Bill McAnally Racing’s Cole Moore. Tanner Reif, Todd Souza and P.J. Pedroncelli are next in the West Series standings.

The Sunrise Ford Racing team has dominated the West Series this season. Between Drew and teammate Reif, the team has won four of the six races held this year. Taylor Gray at Phoenix Raceway and Landen Lewis at Kern County Raceway Park are the only drivers not affiliated with Sunrise Ford Racing to win West Series events this year.

Drew’s next opportunity to continue his dominant streak in the West Series will be more than a month from now when the 2022 season resumes at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington, on Aug. 20.

Cole Moore second again at Irwindale

Cole Moore probably doesn’t like it, but second at Irwindale Speedway is starting to become a theme.

The driver of the No. 99 Bill McAnally Racing Chevrolet finished second Saturday night at Irwindale, his second runner-up finish at the half-mile oval this season.

Moore spent the entire race trying to catch Drew and got one last opportunity with an overtime restart at the end of the event, but he was unable to complete the pass for the lead and was forced to settle for second.

“I wasn’t able to get a good jump on those restarts,” Moore said. “Jake was just in his sweet spot and my gearing wasn’t great. We actually got the best restart of the night on that last one and I sent it in really hard. Anymore and I would have wrecked him and myself. So it was all I could do.

“The guys at BMR put a really good car together. Jake’s been killing it.”

Moore continues to pursue his maiden West Series win. In his 15 series starts to date, he has earned seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes.

Jake Drew, driver of the #6 Irwindale Speedway-StiloUSA-Molecule-Offset Ford, Cole Moore, driver of the #99 Adaptive One Chevrolet, and Kyle Keller, driver of the #12 Metro Recruiting-Eros Environmental-Battle Bord Ford, race during the NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame for the ARCA Menards Series West at Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, California on July 2, 2022. (Michael Owens/ARCA Racing)
Jake Drew, driver of the No. 6 Irwindale Speedway-StiloUSA-Molecule-Offset Ford, leads Cole Moore, driver of the No. 99 Adaptive One Chevrolet, and Kyle Keller, driver of the No. 12 Metro Recruiting-Eros Environmental-Battle Bord Ford, during the NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at Irwindale Speedway on July 2, 2022. (Photo: Michael Owens/ARCA Racing)

Keller, Pitts alliance pays dividends

Kyle Keller was hoping to step up his ARCA Menards Series West program when he formed an alliance with veteran team owner Jerry Pitts last month.

That’s exactly what he did Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway.

Keller qualified 10th for the NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. He then slowly and methodically worked his way through the field, ultimately finishing fourth in the No. 12 Metro Recruiting/Eros Environ/Battle Born Ford.

The fourth-place finish matches Keller’s best West Series result to date. He also finished fourth in his maiden West Series start two years ago at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

His effort during Saturday’s event also earned Keller the Bounty Rookie Challenge award as the highest finishing series rookie.

NOTES:

  • Making his debut in the Bill McAnally Racing No. 16, Landen Lewis scored a fifth-place finish Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway. Lewis, who took over the No. 16 from Austin Herzog, will remain in the car for the remainder of the season
  • Sebastian Arias matched his best run of the season with an eighth-place finish. Both results have come at Irwindale Speedway.
  • Amber Slagle made her third ARCA Menards Series West start Saturday night and, for the third straight race, finished inside the top 10. Her ninth-place result Saturday is her best finish thus far in West Series competition.
  • Jake Finch, the son of former NASCAR Cup Series team owner James Finch, finished sixth in his first West Series start.
  • Of the 21 drivers who started the NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, nine of them finished on the lead lap. Todd Souza, who finished 10th, was two laps off the pace set by race winner Jake Drew.