By Vincent Delforge, Special to Kickin’ the Tires
After eight years hiatus from the ARCA Menards West Series schedule, the Shasta Speedway short track located in Anderson, CA was back and gave us a very good race, full of intensity from start to finish. .
The Big Valley Sanitation Shasta 150 presented by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame marked the start of the second half of the season and a conclusion is in order. Nothing is done for the championship and the end of the season looks promising.
Sean Hingorani won for the third time this season but he had a hard time with Trevor Huddleston. The two drivers who dominated this seventh race of the season. But behind them, the fight for the places of honor was intense. Close racing on a bullring like Shasta thrilled a large audience throughout the 150 laps of the race.
Landen Lewis, fourth, sees Hingorani come back just seven points in the championship.
Here is the race review of the race.
For his first race with Central Coast Racing Tyler Reif places the Ford Fusion No. 13 in first position during the practice. He is 17 thousandths ahead of Jake Drew for his return to the West Series, who replaces him behind the wheel of the Lowden-Jackson Motorsports No. 41. Rookie Cole Raz is 10th, just ahead of teammate Takuma Koga at Jerry Pitts Racing. The other rookie, local Derek Copeland is 13th.
During the qualifying session, Trevor Huddleston took pole position in 16.172 seconds (83.478 mph). This is his second pole of the season after that obtained in Irwindale in April. He is ahead of Sean Hingorani by 33 thousandths. Jake Drew and Tyler Reif are on the second row. Kole Raz gets an excellent fifth position ahead of Landen Lewis.
Funny to see Kole Raz making his first career start from fifth. Indeed his big brother Gracin was also fifth fastest on his debut in 2014 at Evergreen. David Smith brings up the rear in 16th position. Due to a damaged car during the practice Derek Copeland did not make a lap and will not even be able to start the race.
When the pace car releases the 16 drivers, Huddleston retains first position. Behind him Drew walks up to Hingorani. The two drivers will thus do side-by-side the first two laps. At the end of the top-10, Todd Souza and Bradley Erickson begin a fight that will last around fifty laps.
Quickly one thing seems obvious. Huddleston and Hingorani will fight for victory. Behind them Drew, Tyler Reif and Lewis do not let go of a millimeter.
Late-comers will spice up the race. Indeed shortly after the 35th lap, the leading duo caught up with Takuma Koga and Tim Spurgeon. If the Japanese will wisely leave room by positioning himself on the outside line, it will not be the case for Spurgeon who will find himself sandwiched between Hingorani inside and Huddleston outside. Finally the HPR driver will manage to maintain his leadership.
Tyler Reif lost a lot of time with a shock problem. He tumbles into the bottom of the top-10.
Meanwhile Cole Raz climbs back into the top five and overtakes Lewis then Drew for third position.
The race will then settle down and offer a long green flag run, which is common in Shasta. But this “calm” on the track will disappear for the last 50 laps.
The 100th lap standings are as follows: Huddleston, Hingorani (-0.2 sec), Raz (-2 sec.), Drew, Lewis, Tanner Reif, Bradley Erickson, Eric Nascimento, Jr., Kyle Keller and Tyler Reif. Nick Joanides is 11th one lap behind the leader followed by Souza (-2), Koga (-2), Spurgeon (-2), Ryan Philpott (-2) and David Smith (-5).
Yellow Flag and Lead Change!
On lap 112, the Huddleston-Hingorani duo caught up with poor Tyler Reif who was in great difficulty with his car. Hingorani dives inside on Huddleston who does the same on Reif. The latter is unceremoniously dismissed at the entrance of Turn 1 and undergoes a hard contact with Huddleston at the exit of Turn 2. The Ford No. 13 comes to a stop, causing the first yellow flag of the race. No free pass since Tyler is involved despite himself in the incident. Hingorani took the opportunity to take command of the race.
The new standings is as follows: Hingorani, Huddlestn, Raz, Drew, Lewis, Tanner Reif, Erickson, Nascimento, Keller, Joanides (-1), Souza (-2), Koga (-2), Spurgeon (-2), Philpott (-2), Tyler Reif (-4) and Smith (-5).
At the restart, 31 laps from the end, Hingorani seemed to conserve the lead with ease! In fact, it was Huddleston who missed a gear and blocked Drew behind him. Raz took the opportunity to take second position. The newcomer is having a fantastic race. Blocked behind Huddleston, Drew was also overtaken by Lewis and Erickson.
Hingorani widened the gap to 1.7 sec on Raz and 5.2 sec on Huddleston when the second and final yellow flag waved. Tanner Reif pushed Erickson into a spun on Turn 3. Bradley did a 360° and an incredible burn to get back in the direction of travel. But he went from sixth to ninth position. Joanides, 10th, benefits from the free pass.
At the restart, five laps from the end, Hingorani let no one challenge his leadership. Behind, Huddleston refinds bite and will apply to take second position from Raz. He will get there in the last lap. Note the heavy contact in the frontstretch between Lewis and Nascimento. The latter goes across the frontstretch and manages to keep control of his car by biting into the grass inside.
Third Time’s The Charm
Hingorani won for the third time this year. A kind of redemption after his suspension from a race at Mid-Ohio in the ARCA national series following aggressive driving. Here it will have been irreproachable. His battle for more than 100 laps with Huddleston, second in the race, was sumptuous. Hingorani who will celebrate his victory by climbing the fence to celebrate with the fans in the grandstand!
“So pumped on this win! The Venturini guys gave me a great car today. I can’t thank them enough. I knew we had to get a good final restart or else we’d have been moved out of the way. So we did exactly that and drove away and got the win.” Hingorani said.
Kole Raz finished third, outperforming his big brother in his first career race. Indeed Gracin Raz had finished sixth in his first race. Landen Lewis finishes fourth and limits the damage to the championship even if he sees his lead melting by half. Nascimento completes the top-five.
Keller, Tanner Reif, Joanides, Erickson and Souza round out the rest of the top-10.
In the championship Lewis is therefore seven points ahead of Hingorani, 21 over Huddleston and 24 over Erickson. The Reif brothers are fifth (Tyler at -31 points) and sixth (Tanner at -38 points).
Next race on August 8 at Evergreen Speedway, Mornoe, WA.
See you on Wednesday for the full driver-by-driver analysis.