Bill McAnally Racing drivers Derek Kraus and Jesse Love led the way among ARCA Menards Series West teams in the General Tire 150 at Phoenix Raceway on Friday night, in a combination event with the ARCA Menards Series.
Kraus, in the No. 19 NGK Spark Plugs Toyota Camry, charged past Love, in the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, in a one-lap sprint to the finish – as the pair took the checkered flag in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Their BMR teammate, Cole Moore, drove the No. 99 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry to a 12th-place finish in the race that served as the ARCA West season opener.
Kraus, a 19-year-old Wisconsin native who drives for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, was returning for this event to the series where he won the 2019 championship.
With rain washing out qualifying for the event, the field was set according to practice times – with Love 11th, Kraus 13th and Moore 20th. Kraus and Love charged into the top 10 and ran there for most of the race. Moore steadily worked his way forward throughout the race.
Kraus battled a suspension issue for part of the race, which his team repaired during a late caution period. The final yellow flag of the race set up a one-lap dash to determine the outcome, with Kraus moving from past Love to take the fifth spot.
“Once we got that problem figured out, we were ready to push forward,” Kraus said. “We just didn’t have enough time.”
Love and Moore were launching their drive for this year’s ARCA West championship. Love, 16, of Menlo Park, California, won the title last year and has his eyes on becoming the third BMR driver to win back-to-back titles in the No. 16. Moore – a 23-year-old from Granite Bay, California – has the goal of winning the championship in his first full season of series competition.
BMR hosted a large group of guests from the NAPA Distribution Center in Phoenix through a BBB Industries sales event. NGK VIP crew members were also in attendance at the event.
ARCA Menards Series West Event:
Race: General Tire 150 (Race 1 of 9) March 12, 2021
Location: Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz. (1-mile oval)
No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry
Hometown: Menlo Park, Calif.
Finished: 6th (Running, completed 150 of 150 laps)
No. 99 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry
Hometown: Granite Bay, Calif.
Finished: 12th (Running, completed 148 of 150 laps)
No. 19 NGK Spark Plugs Toyota Camry
Hometown: Stratford, Wisc.
Finished: 5th (Running, completed 150 of 150 laps)
Race winner: Ty Gibbs
ARCA Menards Series West
General Tire 200, June 5, 2021, Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, Calif. (2.52-mile road course)
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!