ARCA Menards West Series: 2023 Shasta Race Preview

By Vincent Delforge, Special to Kickin’ the Tires

This Saturday, July 29, we are moving into the second half of the 2023 ARCA Menards West Series season. The Big Valley Sanitation Shasta 150 presented by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame seventh race of the year contested at Shasta Speedway in Anderson, CA.

Vincent delforge breaks down the storylines entering the arca menards series west return to shasta speedway for the first time in eight years.
ARCA Menards Series West Shasta 150 logo. Photo Courtesy of ARCA Racing.

This 0.375 mile oval is an old acquaintance of the West Series. Indeed between 1967 and 2015, the short track was visited 14 times. Only the 2015 race was contested on the current 0.375 mile oval. The first 13 races were contested on the old 0.333 mile layout.

While 2015 wasn’t a long time ago, none of the 17 drivers entered this year made a single West Series race at Shasta. Not even veterans Todd Souza or Takuma Koga. That year Souza was driving part-time and he skipped Shasta. As for Koga, he did not return to the West Series until the following year.

It will therefore be a discovery for all pilots. Even if some have already been able to ride there in other categories in the past.

The last winner here in 2015 is Chris Eggleston. Note that the last four winners at Shasta all won the championship in the same year. Jim Robinson in 1985, Bill Sedgwick in 1992, Rick Carelli in 1993 and Eggleston in 2015. And this stat is also valid in 1967 with Scotty Cain, 1978 (Jimmy Insolo), 1979 (Bill Schmitt) and 1983 (Jim Robinson). So eight times out of 14, the winner of the Shasta race will also be champion in the same year!

As on many short tracks, the position on the starting grid is very important. The driver starting from the first position having won the race four times. The worst starting position was ninth in 1985. It’s hard to overtake at Shasta. As proof, there are on average only two changes of leader per race. The record being six (1992). In 1967 Scotty Cain won the race from pole position and led the entire race.

However for a “bullring” the number of cautions has never been very important here. The record being eight yellow flags in 1993. Twice the race was even run entirely under the green flag.

If in 1967 there were only 12 cars at the start, the April 1978 race will have 26 cars at the start. In 2015 there were 24. This year there will be 17.

The entry list includes several changes. Indeed Tyler Reif went from the No. 41 of Lowden-Jackson Motorsports to the No. 13 of Central Coast Racing. Todd Souza, the historic driver of the 13 will be present but at the wheel of a second car for the team, the No. 3. For CCR this will be the first time in its history that the team has entered two cars.

The No. 41, who will drive it you ask me? Well, it’s 2022 champion Jake Drew who comes to do a one shot after a phone call from Chris Lowden, the team’s co-owner. We will also witness the debut in the West Series at Jerry Pitts Racing of Kole Raz, whose big brother Gracin is a former driver of Jerry Pitts. Another newcomer was Anderson, CA driver Derek Copeland.

Here are some other West Series stats at Shasta Speedway.


Win: Chevrolet (4), Pontiac (3), Oldsmobile (3), Ford (2), Buick (1), Toyota (1)

Pole: Chevrolet (6), Buick (3), Ford (2), Pontiac (2), Oldsmobile (1)

Race car number

Win: #78 (3), #01 (2), #73 (2), #7 (1), #37 (1), #45 (1), #48 (1), #75 (1), #95 (1), #99 (1)

Pole: #01 (3), #73 (3), #98 (3), #7 (1), #10 (1), #17 (1), #20 (1), #45 (1)


Win: Gerald Cracker (2), Lois Williams (2), Marshall Chesrown (1), Bill Clinton (1), Ron Eaton (1), George Jefferson (1), Bill McAnally (1), Bill Schmitt (1), Jim Schmitt (1), Wayne Spears (1), Jim Walker (1), Jack Williams (1)

Pole: Gerald Cracker (4), John Kieper (2), Bill Schmitt (2), Tom Craigen (1), Ron Eaton (1), Steve McGowan (1), Bill Clinton (1), Bill Morehart (1), Charles Williamson (1)


Win: Jim Robinson (3), Jimmy Insolo (2), Bill Schmitt (2), Scotty Cain (1), Rick Carelli (1), Derrike Cope (1), Ron Eaton (1), Chris Eggleston (1), Bill Sedgwick (1), Jim Walker (1)

Pole: Bill Schmitt (3), Chuck Bown (2), Jim Bown (2), Ron Eaton (2), Scotty Cain (1), Rick Carelli (1), Jimmy Insolo (1), Dirk Stephens (1), Tim Williamson (1)

Crew chief

Win: Jim Schmitt (4), Jim Gibson (3), Leon Ruther (2), Roger Bracken (1), Joe Garone/David Ifft (1), Rick Harper (1), Jackie Johnson (1)

Pole: Jackie Johnson (2), Richard Kieper (2), Dick Bown (1), Bill Clinton (1), Tom Craigen (1), Corey LaJoie (1), Lloyd McCleary (1), Bill Morehart (1), Leon Ruther (1), Jim Schmitt (1), Charles Williamson (1)

The race will be 150 laps (56.3 miles) and all track activities will be concentrated on the single day of Saturday with the single practice from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. PT. The General Tire Pole Qualifying at 6 p.m. PT and finally the 150-laps race at 8:35 p.m. PT.

The Race Procedure 

CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The starting field for the Shasta 150 is limited to 20 starters plus provisionals. The event will run under the 2023 ARCA Menards Series rules, procedures, regulations and specifications.

QUALIFYING: Starting lineup set by each car’s fastest recorded lap in General Tire Pole Qualifying (single car/2 laps)

RACE PIT STOP: Pitting during any caution period for the Shasta 150 will be for adding fuel, making repairs or adjustments only. No tires can be changed unless approved by ARCA Officials. Positions will not be gained or lost among those pitting on same lap unless they are under penalty or go down a lap on pit road.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: The maximum race day tire usage for the Shasta 150 (total “from home” plus purchased at-track) is 8. Per ARCA Rulebook, maximum number of tires allowed in pit box for use in race is two (2).

The ARCA Drivers   

No. 05 Dave Smith (Shockwave Racing)

After two decent road races, the Toyota lacked reliability at Irwindale as Smith hoped to make another top-10 at this oval like in April. Like all drivers, it will be a first in the West Series at Shasta for the Canadian veteran. But he knows he has to contain his “rookie” enthusiasm and that if he makes it to the finish, the top-10 is a realistic goal. Brandon Carlson will be his crew chief.

Starts               Wins               Top5               Top10               Pole               Best result               At Shasta  
10              0             0               1              0               10th             

No. 3 Todd Souza (Central Coast Racing)

Ccr race shop
Photo Courtesy of Michael Munoz via Vincent Delforge.

As announced, Souza leaves his historic No. 13 to a teammate at CCR, Tyler Reif. This will be the first time the team has entered two cars. But Todd has always used the No. 13 except once, that was in 2017 in the combined race between East and West at Iowa Speedway. And already at the time, it was the No. 3 that he had used.

The No. 13 being attributed to Jeff Green (East) for this race. But the other biggest novelty will be name of the crew chief. Souza has always had Michael Munoz at his side in 114 races. Here for the first time he will have Jason Dickenson. The latter is not unknown at CCR. Although he was racing in 2015, Souza did not make the trip to Shasta. At the time he was not driving full time.

Starts                Wins                Top5                Top10           Pole              Best result                At Shasta 
114               1                20                64               0                1st (1x)               

No. 4 Eric Nascimento (Nascimento-Joiner Motorsports)

A resurrection for Bubba at Irwindale where he was finally spared mechanical trouble. Result? He fought for victory. Finally second in the race, he reminded everyone that he must be reckoned with for victory. He and his crew chief Ty Joiner intend to ride on this newfound confidence to bring the No. 4 to Victory Lane. Joiner who is one of the crew chiefs with experience in Shasta. In 2015 he helped Brandon McReynolds finish seventh in the race.

Starts          Wins          Top5          Top10          Pole          Best result          At Shasta
14         0          2          4         0          2nd (1x)         

No. 5 Kole Raz (Jerry Pitts Racing)

The 20-year-old from Lake Oswego, OR will be making his West Series debut. He will drive the No. 5 for Jerry Pitts Racing. The latter is also his crew chief. Between 2015 and 2017, his big brother Gracin Raz made 28 races in the West Series for Jerry Pitts. Even if at the time Jerry was co-owner of another team, JPR, with Jeff Jefferson. Gracin had finished fourth at Shasta in 2015. Note that Kole will also be driving this car at Evergreen in August.

Starts          Wins          Top5          Top10          Pole          Best result          At Shasta

No. 7 Takuma Koga (Jerry Pitts Racing)

Despite his seniority in the West Series, Koga has never raced at Shasta. It will therefore be a discovery for him. Its owner Jerry Pitts knows the track but the No. 7 had its worst result of the 2015 season at Shasta with a 16th position. At the time it was Noah Gragson who piloted it. That said the bullrings, Koga likes. His only career top-five on an oval was at the Orange Show Speedway in 2017. Denny Moyer will be the Japanese driver’s crew chief.

Starts                Wins                Top5       Top10          Pole        Best result                At Shasta
107                0                4               23                0              5th (4x)               

No. 13 Tyler Reif (Central Coast Racing)

A big surprise with the change of team during the season of Tyler Reif. However, everything had started well with Lowden-Jackson Motorsports since they had won the first race of the year in Phoenix together. But since then, despite three other top-10s, the beautiful idyll seems to have taken a turn for the worse…

For the moment Tyler is only announced at the wheel of the No. 13 for Shasta. But it’s a safe bet that the young driver will end the season with CCR. We know that Todd is in his last full-time season and Tyler could be his official replacement for the future, 2024? Michael Munoz will be his crew chief. Note that the last time a driver other than Todd Souza used No. 13 in the West Series was Dean Kuhn… in 1999 at Motegi, Japan!

Starts                Wins                Top5                Top10                Pole                Best result                At Shasta
8     1      2      4      0      1st     

No. 15 Sean Hingorani (Venturini Motorsports)

First race for Sean since being suspended for “aggressive driving” in the ARCA Menards National Series at Mid-Ohio. He will have the complicated task at Shasta, which he will discover with his West Series car. For what? Because he is on probation and will have to run a clean race against his opponents. Which on a bullring is never easy because close racing is inevitable. Hingorani is smart and likely has learned from his mistake. Kevin Reed, Jr. will be his crew chief.

Starts                Wins                Top5                Top10                Pole                Best result                At Shasta 
11       2        2        3        1        1st (2x)       

No. 16 Tanner Reif (Bill McAnally Racing) Start: 5th – Fin: 3rd  

Tanner Reif is getting closer and closer to winning again. It took him a few races to familiarize himself with his new BMR team. He is getting faster and faster and the good results are coming. In addition, he drives for the only active team that has already won a victory at Shasta. Indeed Chris Eggleston had led his No. 99 on Victory Lane in 2015. With his crew chief John Camilleri, they hope to offer Bill McAnally another victory, which would be the 100th in the West Series.

Starts                Wins                Top5                Top10                Pole                Best result                At Shasta 
17               2                7                12               2              1st (2x)               

No. 17 Landen Lewis (McGowan Motorsports with Cook Racing Technologies)

Lewis intends to set the record straight in Shasta. Penalized for a jumping restart at Irwindale when he was able to claim a second victory this season, he fell back to the bottom of the top-10 at the finish of the race. But he remains a solid leader in the championship. He drives for the team of Bruce Cook and Steve McGowan. The latter having seen his pilot, David Mayhew, obtain pole position at Shasta in 2015. Lewis and his crew chief Richard Mason hope to do better with pole and victory!

Starts                Wins                Top5                Top10                Pole                Best result                At Shasta
14               2                7                11                2                1st (2x)             

No. 21 Tim Spurgeon (Nascimento-Joiner Motorsports)

Curiously Spurgeon, the road ringer, takes the place of rookie Ethan Nascimento behind the wheel of the No. 21 for this race. He who has never raced on an oval in the West Series except for the two races on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track in 2018 and 2019. It will be interesting to see what he is capable of on a paved oval and what is more on Shasta’s bullring. Mike Nascimento will be his crew chief.

Starts       Wins       Top5       Top10       Pole       Best result       At Shasta
18       0       0       3       0       6th  (1x)    

No. 41 Jake Drew (Lowden Jackson Motorsports)

Surprise return in West Series from Jake Drew, the 2022 champion, who agreed to do this one-off drive following a phone call from Chris Lowden, the team’s co-owner. Besides, Tony Jackson, the other co-owner will be his crew chief. Drew who has never driven in Shasta regardless of the category of cars!

His closest experience at another 0.375 mile is Colorado Speedway where he finished third in 2021. But Drew is a top class driver. His first race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in Nashville is there to demonstrate it. The fact of not knowing the car or the track will not cause him any problem. His ability to adapt is exceptional.

Starts             Wins             Top5             Top10             Pole             Best result             At Shasta
20            4             13             17             7             1st (4x)        

No. 50 Trevor Huddleston (High Point Racing)

Winner at Irwindale before the summer break, Huddleston is on an upward slope. He now has his new Ford well in hand and his relationship with his crew chief Jeff Schrader is increasingly effective. Shasta is the style of ovals that Trevor likes. And Schrader knows this oval as he looked after Ryan Partridge in 2015 when the latter finished sixth there.

Starts            Wins            Top5            Top10            Pole            Best result            At Shasta
59         3            22         49            1            1st (3x)         

No. 52 Ryan Philpott (Philpott Racing)

Perhaps Portland and Sonoma’s disappointments will be mitigated in Shasta. For Ryan Philpott, this will be the first oval race in the West Series since Stockton in… 2013! But Chuck Dozhier was already his crew chief that year. That said on .333 or .375 mile ovals, Philpott has experience in the West Series even if it’s been almost ten years. He has indeed obtained six of his eight career top-10s on this type of oval.

Starts        Wins        Top5        Top10        Pole        Best result        At Shasta
39      0       0       9      0       6th (2x)   

No. 70  Kyle Keller (Kyle Keller Racing)

Shasta is the kind of oval where Kyle Keller performs very well. If he is spared from mechanical problems he will be a candidate for a top5 at least. KKR is building its team little by little and it takes time for everything to work perfectly. But it’s only a matter of time. KKR is made up of talented people including Brian Kizer the crew chief

Starts               Wins               Top5               Top10               Pole               Best result               At Shasta
16      0         6         9         0         4th (3x)        

No. 77 Nick Joanides (Performance P-1 Motorsports)

To prepare for the Irwindale race, Joanides and PP1M had a private practice at the end of June in Stockton with the help of veteran crew chief Roger Bracken. As a reminder, Bracken is the last winning crew chief in the West Series at Shasta. It was in 2015 with BMR and Chris Eggleston. The new Ford is beginning to be well mastered by the team, the eighth position acquired at Irwindale proves it. So will Joanides create a big surprise and give Joe Nava, owner and crew chief, a new top-five?

Starts               Wins               Top5               Top10               Pole               Best result               At Shasta 
23    0         1         7         0         4th       

No. 80 Derek Copeland (Derek Copeland Racing)

Vincent delforge breaks down the storylines entering the arca menards series west return to shasta speedway for the first time in eight years.
Photo Courtesy of Derek Copeland via Vincent Delforge.

Brian Kamisky’s usual crew chief, the roles will be reversed at Shasta where Derek Copeland, 32, will make his West Series debut. But Copeland is probably the driver who knows Shasta Speedway best. He lives in Anderson, where that oval is. He has indeed won a championship in Super Late Models there in the past and has entered lot of Legend Cars there for himself and other drivers for years. The team having prepared a new Toyota Camry for this race.

Starts       Wins       Top5       Top10       Pole       Best result       At Shasta

No. 88 Bradley Erickson (Naake-Klauer Motorsports)  

The Irwindale race on July 1 saw Erickson finish a race outside the top-eight for the first time this year following an engine problem. The rookie is looking for his first victory and on a track where his owner and crew chief Mike Naake has experience, it could finally be the right opportunity to see the No. 88 on Victory Lane. Because Mike Naake was for example the crew chief of John Krebs in 1985 when the latter finished sixth at Shasta. And in 2015, the last race here, he was crew chief for Luis Tyrrell.

Starts              Wins              Top5              Top10              Pole              Best result              At Shasta
10 0        2        7        0        3rd        

Final notes    

-Lowden-Jackson Motorsports does not enter the No. 46 in Shasta, preferring to focus on the No. 41 of Jake Drew. No. 46 is expected to return to Evergreen on August 19 with RJ Smotherman behind the wheel.

-With the absence of Ethan Nascimento at Shasta, they will now only be 11 drivers to make the season full time.

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