A stout performance with a second-place finish in the NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 at Colorado National Speedway on Saturday propelled Jesse Love into the lead in the championship standings of the ARCA Menards Series West.
The 16-year-old defending series champion had the Bill McAnally Racing No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry out front for most of the 150-lap event before coming home in the runner-up spot.
His BMR teammates, series rookie Cole Moore and series newcomer Jolynn “Jo Jo” Wilkinson, shared in the spotlight at Colorado. Moore set the pace early in the No. 99 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry and notched a fourth-place finish, while Wilkinson drove the No. 19 Instacoat Premium Products Toyota Camry to an eighth-place finish on the lead lap – in making her series debut.
Moore started the race in third, with Love in fourth and Wilkinson in eight – with the lineup being determined by owner points after the practice/qualifying session was cancelled due to weather conditions.
Moore used the outside line to take the lead after an early restart, with Love following up for second. After shadowing his teammate, Love took advantage of another restart to take command and pace the field until late in the race. Moore, meanwhile, was locked in a tough battle among the top five throughout the event.
Wilkinson ran a steady race, as she got the feel for handling an ARCA West car around the tight 3/8-mile oval. The 17-year-old adapted quickly and was picking up positions as the laps wound down.
With his second-place finish, Love moved to first in the standings. Moore also gained ground, moving from third to second in the overall standings – two points behind Love. Moore also took the lead in the chase for the rookie title.
In advance of the race, the BMR team made an appearance for a meet-and-greet during a special event at the NAPA AUTO PARTS store in Lakewood on Friday evening. Love, Moore and Wilkinson signed autographs and visited with customers and staff, with the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry on display out front.
At the track on Saturday, the NAPA Distribution Center in Denver had a large group of special guests in attendance – with NAPA store owners, shop owners and top customers. They received a VIP experience – with hospitality, a driver meet-and-greet, a pit tour and guest crew members. Sponsor activation for the event also included NAPA Power Premium Plus, Gates Industrial, NAPA Belts & Hoses and NGK – all of which helped build sales and promotion around the race.
NGK VIP Guest Crew Members for the event were Zack Morgan, manager at University Auto Parts – NAPA; and Trent Dinkel, service technician at Ed Bozarth Chevrolet and Buick in Grand Junction.
ARCA Menards Series West Event:
Race: NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 (Race 4 of 9) July 31, 2021
Location: Colorado National Speedway, Dacono, Colo. (3/8-mile oval)
Television: NBCSN on Aug. 11 at 12 p.m. PT
No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry
Hometown: Menlo Park, Calif.
Finished: 2nd (Running, completed 150 of 150 laps)
2021 Series Stats:
Races: 4 starts, 1 win, 2 top fives, 3 top 10s
Laps completed: 479/501
Series standings: 1st
No. 99 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry
Hometown: Granite Bay, Calif.
Finished: 4th (Running, completed 150 of 150 laps)
2021 Series Stats:
Races: 4 starts, 3 top fives, 3 top 10s
Laps completed: 499/501
Series standings: 2nd
Rookie standings: 1st
Jolynn “Jo Jo” Wilkinson
No. 19 Instacoat Premium Products Toyota Camry
Hometown: Hueytown, Ala.
Finished: 8th (Running, completed 150 of 150 laps)
Race winner: Joey Iest
ARCA Menards Series West, Aug. 21, 2021, Irwindale Speedway, Irwindale, Calif. (1/2-mile oval)
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!