Saturday, August 5, 2023

ARCA WEST: Radiator issue spoils defending champion Jake Drew’s West Series return

Drew (#41) racing against Sean Hingorani (#15) and Tyler Reif (#13) shortly after the start of the race.

by Ben Schneider Staff Writer

Jake Drew finished last for the 1st time in his ARCA Menards Series West career in Saturday’s Shasta 150 at Shasta Speedway when his #41 Tour Nevada / Nevada Tourism Ford fell out with radiator issues after completing 132 of 150 laps.

The finish came in Drew’s 21st career West Series start.

Drew’s West Series career began in 2021 with Sunrise Ford Racing driving the team’s #9 Ford to a second-place finish in the championship. The closest he came to a win in his rookie season was at Portland, where he started on pole, led the most laps, and crossed the finish line first, but a post-race penalty for cutting a chicane relegated him to a tenth-place result. While Drew did not win a race, he very nearly won the championship, crossing the finish line at Phoenix in position to beat Jesse Love to the title by one point. Love, however, passed Drew’s SFR teammate Trevor Huddleston when Huddleston slowed on the final lap, leaving Love and Drew tied on 438 points. This gave Love the championship on a tiebreaker with two wins to Drew’s zero.

Drew returned to SFR in 2022 and ultimately avenged his championship heartbreak, winning four of the West Series’ eleven races and clinching his first title by a healthy margin. But Drew was left on the sidelines to begin the 2023 season after team owner Bob Bruncati retired from ARCA West competition. After moving to North Carolina in the offseason to pursue a greater range of networking possibilities in the motorsports industry, Drew’s first appearance this season came in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with ThorSport Racing. Making his Truck debut at Nashville, Drew drove ThorSport’s No. 66 Ford to a 12th-place finish and likely had a shot at a Top Ten had a late-race caution not shuffled the running order.

For Shasta, Tyler Reif moved to Central Coast Racing’s No. 13 entry with Todd Souza driving the No. 3 in a second car for the team. Thus, Reif’s usual No. 41 entry for Lowden-Jackson Motorsports opened the door for an opportunity for Drew to return to the West Series for the first time since he was crowned champion. While Drew qualified a strong third on the grid, his night was cut short after 132 laps due to a radiator failure.

Just 17 cars appeared on the entry list. Of these, only 16 took the green flag in the race. Derek Copeland’s No. 80 Toyota for Brian Kamisky set a lap time of 16.721 seconds in practice, but the driver was absent from the qualifying session and ultimately credited with 17th-place points and a “did not start” status. David Smith anchored the field in qualifying with a 17.245, the only driver not in the 16-second bracket. Takuma Koga slotted in 15th on the grid with a lap of 16.674, just behind Ryan Philpott, Tim Spurgeon, and Nick Joanides rounding out the Bottom Five starters.

Following Drew up the running order in the race were Smith, Reif, Philpott, and Spurgeon, all of whom were running at the finish in what was ultimately a race of very low attrition. At the front of the field, Sean Hingorani won his third West Series race of the season in a return to the driver’s seat following a one-race suspension due to his actions at Mid-Ohio. Hingorani edged out polesitter Trevor Huddleston, who followed up his recent win at Irwindale by finishing 2nd and leading 111 laps. Series debutant Kole Raz, the younger brother of West Series veteran Gracin Raz, scored a strong third-place finish, with Hingorani’s championship rival Landen Lewis finishing fourth and Eric Nascimento rounding out the Top Five.

17) #80-Derek Copeland

16) #41-Jake Drew / 132 laps / radiator
15) #05-David Smith / 144 laps / running
14) #13-Tyler Reif / 146 laps / running
13) #52-Ryan Philpott / 148 laps / running
12) #21-Tim Spurgeon / 148 laps / running

1st) Ford (6)
2nd) Toyota (1)

1st) Lowden-Jackson Motorsports (2)
2nd) Fast Track Racing, Performance P-1 Motorsports, Central Coast Racing, High Point Racing, Jerry Pitts Racing (1)


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