MADERA, Calif. — Saturday night’s ARCA Menards Series West race at California’s Madera Speedway was a story of déjà vu.
Just like he did when he made his West Series debut a few weeks ago at All American Speedway in Roseville, California, Kaden Honeycutt dominated from beginning to end in the 51FIFTY Jr Homecoming ARCA 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame.
The 20-year-old from Willow Park, Texas did so after recording the fastest lap in practice and qualifying on the outside pole — exactly what he did at All American.
“This feels so good. These guys work their butts off,” Honeycutt said, referring to his crew. “This car was phenomenal. I was so worried about the Speedy Dry [after it was applied during a late-race red flag]. There was so much put down in [Turns] 1 and 2 in my lane and where I wanted to run.
“But, executed on the restart, got down to the bottom and kicked their freaking butts. That’s what this team’s about.”
— ARCA Menards Series (@ARCA_Racing) October 22, 2023
Honeycutt’s second win in his third West Series start arrived thanks to his strength on a series of restarts throughout the event. The showcase began when the green flag waved to start the race; Honeycutt on the outside beat pole-sitter Eric Nascimento to the lead entering Turn 1.
Honeycutt did it again on the outside after a caution when the race restarted on Lap 15. He did it again on Lap 86. And again on Laps 100, 119, 128 and 135.
“It puts you in a situation you don’t want to be in,” Honeycutt said of the string of yellow flags. “Depends on how you handle it and how you face it. Now you come out on top.”
Driving Steve McGowan’s No. 17 MMI-Sunwest Construction Chevrolet in an effort to help the team win a 2023 West Series car owner championship, Honeycutt is in his second year of part-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series action. He has a couple top-10 finishes in 10 Truck Series starts thus far in 2023 driving for a handful of race teams.
Honeycutt also finished 38th in his lone NASCAR Xfinity Series start to date, in April for Mike Harmon at Martinsville Speedway.
Honeycutt’s second West Series win comes in his ninth start on the ARCA Menards platform. He also has six ARCA Menards Series (national) starts dating back to 2018 with a best finish of seventh at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in 2019.
Todd Souza finished second Saturday at Madera ahead of Joey Iest in third and Bradley Erickson in fourth.
West Series championship points leader Sean Hingorani salvaged a fifth-place finish at Madera despite an up-and-down night. He started in the back of the pack as a result of unapproved pre-race adjustments. He battled through the field and was running near the top five when he was collected in an accident with Kyle Keller with 47 laps to go.
He then battled through the field once again to score his sixth top five of the West Series season.
Nascimento, Kyle Keller, Nick Joanides, Ryan Philpott and Trevor Huddleston finished sixth through 10th, respectively.
That 10th-place finish for Huddleston was a heartbreaker. The driver who entered the race second in West Series championship points was running in the top five before he spun in the final corner of the race.
A replay of the 51FIFTY Jr Homecoming ARCA 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame at Madera Speedway will air on CNBC on Saturday, Oct. 28 starting at 11 a.m. ET.
The ARCA Menards Series West field gets a week off before heading to Phoenix Raceway for its championship event. The season-ending Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 100 at Phoenix on Friday, Nov. 3 is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. MT / 1:30 p.m. ET. The race will be shown live on FloRacing.