The ARCA Menards Series West will kick off its 2021 season at Phoenix Raceway on Friday with the General Tire 150, a combination race with the ARCA Menards Series.
Bill McAnally Racing will be well represented, with Derek Kraus returning to the series for this event to join with the team’s ARCA West regulars this year, Jesse Love and Cole Moore.
Kraus, a 19-year-old Wisconsin native who is in his second season driving for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, will be driving the No. 19 NGK Spark Plugs Toyota Camry at Phoenix. He raced for three seasons with BMR in NASCAR K&N/ARCA West, culminating with the 2019 championship.
Love, who wheels the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry that Kraus previously drove, is also a series champion. The 16-year-old from Menlo Park, California won the title last year and became the youngest champion in series history, as well as the youngest champion in the history of any NASCAR national or touring series. His goal is to win back-to-back titles, matching the accomplishments of previous drivers of the No. 16 – Brendan Gaughan (2000 & 2001) and Todd Gilliland (2016 & 2017).
Moore – a 23-year-old from Granite Bay, California – is aiming to win the championship in his first full season of series competition. He drives BMR’s No. 99 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry.
Love and Moore know that a top finish at Phoenix could be a big boost to the start of their season as they contend for the championship.
Love will be making his third start at Phoenix. He finished 16th in an ARCA race there last March, after getting caught up in a late-race incident. He finished 14th, while cruising to the ARCA West title in the season finale there in November.
Kraus finished third in his only series start at Phoenix, as he wrapped up the championship in 2019. Moore, meanwhile, will be making his first start at Phoenix.
BMR is chasing its 11th series championship this year, while looking to add to the team’s 104 overall wins in ARCA’s East and West divisions (formerly the NASCAR K&N Pro Series).
BMR will host a large group of guests from the NAPA Distribution Center in Phoenix through a BBB Industries sales event. NGK VIP crew members are also scheduled to be at the event.
ARCA Menards Series West Event:
Race: General Tire 150 (Race 1 of 9) March 12, 2021
Location: Phoenix Raceway, Avondale, Ariz. (1-mile oval)
Television: Live on MAVTV Motorsports Network on March 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET, Live stream on TRACKPass on NBCSports Gold
No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry
Hometown: Menlo Park, Calif.
Career series starts: 11
Career series wins: 3 (Utah1 6/27/20, Irwindale 7/4/20, Colorado 8/22/20)
Career series poles: 4 (Irwindale 7/4/20, Colorado 8/22/20, Las Vegas 9/26/20, Bakersfield 10/25/20)
Most recent series finish: 14th – Phoenix (11/7/20)
Last finish at this track: 14th (11/7/20)
No. 99 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry
Hometown: Granite Bay, Calif.
Career series starts: 8
Best career series finish: 7th – two times (Roseville 10/15/16, Roseville 10/14/17)
Most recent series finish: 7th – Roseville (10/14/17)
Last finish at this track: First visit
No. 19 NGK Spark Plugs Toyota Camry
Hometown: Stratford, Wisc.
Career series starts: 42
Career series wins: 10 (Kern 11/4/17, Kern 3/18/18, Roseburg 6/30/18, Gateway 8/24/18, Kern 10/27/18, Tucson 5/11/19 – Race 1 & Race 2, Roseburg 6/29/19, Meridian 9/28/19, Kern 10/26/19)
Career series poles: 8 (Iowa 7/28/17, Tucson 5/5/18 – Race 1 & Race 2, Colorado 6/9/18, Monroe 8/11/18, Meridian 9/29/18, Roseburg 6/29/19, Kern 10/26/19)
Most recent series finish: 3rd – Phoenix (11/9/19)
Last series finish at this track: 3rd (11/9/19)
BMR Series Record at Phoenix Raceway:
BMR has visited Victory Lane at Phoenix on five occasions: Austin Cameron (2002), Eric Holmes (2010), Cole Custer (2014), Nick Drake (2014) and Todd Gilliland (2015).
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!