ARCA Menards West Series: 2023 Roseville Race Preview

By Vincent Delforge, Special to Kickin’ the Tires

This Saturday, September 30, after a month of break, the ARCA Menards West Series championship resumes with the NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by Berco Redwood Inc, ninth of 12 races of the 2023 season, which will take place at the All American Speedway located in Roseville , CA. This 0.333 mile oval built in 1955 will host the West Series for the 25th time. The first race in 1977 was won by Sumner McKnight. The Roseville meeting is a must for the championship since the race has taken place every year without stopping since 2008.

Last year Cole Moore, on his hometrack, finally won his first career victory. He beat champion Jake Drew and Joey Iest. The latter making his return to the West Series this Saturday.

Many changes should be noted in the entry list with the arrival of three new teams. We will return to this in detail below in the drivers section. The big surprise is the non-participation of Landen Lewis. The former championship leader, who is only a small point behind Sean Hingorani, thus losing all hope of winning the 2023 championship. His team McGowan Cook Racing Technologies will however be present with the newcomer in West Series Kaden Honeycutt.

We will come back in more detail to evoke their memories but the month of September saw two great men of the West Series leave us. These are the owners Bruce Bishop who died on September 10, 2023 and Wayne Spears who died on September 25, 2023.

ARCA West at Roseville   

Before detailing the entry list, let’s go back for a moment to the past and the stats concerning the All American Speedway. 

Built in 1955, the first coming to Roseville by the West Series was in 1977 when the oval was still a quarter mile. Chuck Bown will get pole position but following a redraw will only start in fifth position. Ernie Stierly, who had inherited the first position on the starting grid, was heading for his sixth career victory when he was passed six laps from the finish by Sumner McKnight who thus took his first career victory. 

This quarter mile will be used until 1982. It will then be necessary to wait until 2008 for the All American Speedway, reconfigured in the meantime to a 0.333 mile, to return to the West Series calendar. From 2008 to 2011 we will come there twice a year. A period largely dominated by Bill McAnally Racing since the team won six victories there in eight races. The master of the place being undoubtedly the triple champion Eric Holmes. The latter still holds the victory record in Roseville with four. 

Since 2012, the West Series has come to Roseville once a year. Note that the last five winners have all won their first and to date only career victory there with Cole Rouse, Jagger Jones, Gio Scelzi, P.J. Pedroncelli and Cole Moore since 2018. 

As far as statistics are concerned, of the 24 races already contested in Roseville we can highlight: 

-Eric Holmes is the most successful pilot with four wins. He precedes Paulie Harraka (2) and all the other drivers who each have a victory. 

-Among the manufacturers, Toyota leads the dance with 10 wins ahead of Ford (7), Chevrolet (3), Oldsmobile (2), Pontiac (1) and Buick (1). 

-The most successful team is almost unsurprisingly Bill McAnally Racing with ten wins (2008, 2009 (2X), 2010 (2X), 2011, 2014, 2018, 2020 and 2022. Bruncati Racing follows with three wins (2016, 2017 and 2019). 

-Concerning the poles, BMR is again at the top of the ranking with seven (2009, 2010 (2X), 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019). Bruncati Racing being just behind with six (2008, 2009, 2013, 2017, 2021 and 2022). 

-The track record is owned by Michael Self for Bruncati Racing at 89.383 mph achieved in 2017. 

-The poleman has won the race 11 times. 

-Jason Fensler won the race in 2011 from 15th position on the starting grid, which is a record. 

-As far as yellow flags are concerned, the record is 11 in 2021 while twice in 1977 and 1981 there was only one. The March 2008 race holds the record for the number of yellow flag laps with 76, while the 1978 race holds the opposite record with only seven laps.   

The Race Procedure 

The race will be 150 laps (49.95 miles) and all track activities will be concentrated on the single day of Saturday with the single practice from 3 to 4 p.m. PT. The General Tire Pole Qualifying at 4:30 p.m. PT and finally the 150-laps race at 7:45 p.m. PT. 

CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The starting field for the NAPA Auto Parts 150 is limited to 22 starters plus provisionals. This event will be run under the 2023 ARCA Menards Series rules, procedures, regulations, and specifications.

QUALIFYING: Starting position will be set by each car’s fastest recorded lap in qualifying (single car, 2 laps; impound).

RACE PIT STOP: Pitting during any caution period in the NAPA Auto Parts 150 will be for making repairs and adjustments only, no tires can be changed unless approved by ARCA officials. Positions will not be gained or lost among those pitting on the same lap unless for a penalty or going a lap down on pit road. 

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Per ARCA Rulebook, maximum tire usage for this event (purchased plus from-home tires) is 8. Maximum number of tires allowed in pit box for use in race = two (2) for emergency use only.

The Drivers 

No. 05 Dave Smith (Shockwave Racing)

If Evergreen marked Dave Smith’s first anniversary as a West Series driver, the race will not remain his best memory. Last year he finished 11th in Roseville after benefiting from the free pass twice. He had put into practice his leitmotif which was to stay out of all problems. Let’s hope he finishes the race and on a track where there are many accidents, it could pay off and who knows, maybe a second top-10 in his career. Brandon Carlson will be his crew chief.

Starts              Wins              Top5              Top10              Pole              Best result              At Roseville 
12            0            0              1             0              10th             1 start, best result 11th 

No. 1 Robbie Kennealy (Kennealy Keller Motorsports)

Impressive on his debut at Irwindale in July where he obtained fifth position, Robbie returns with the new team led by mother Francesca and sister Hartley. This team is the result of an association with Kyle Keller Racing. More info here:

The arca menards series west returns to all american speedway.
Photo courtesy of Robbie Kennealy via Vincent Delforge.

The good news is that in addition to looking to the future with full-time participation in 2024, the team will be present at the last four races of this season. Kennealy just completed a testing session on September 23 with his crew chief Charlie Wilson at Willow Springs in order to best prepare for the Roseville race. A track that he will discover in the West Series. With his teammate Kyle Keller, Robbie will be one to watch closely this Saturday.

Starts         Wins         Top5         Top10         Pole         Best result         At Roseville

No. 3 Todd Souza (Central Coast Racing)

Souza has just finished in quick succession in 10th position at Shasta and Evergreen. But the veteran cannot be satisfied with that. Roseville is a track that suits his uncompromising driving style well. He has already finished second there as the best result and last year he obtained fourth position. With his crew chief Jason Dickenson, the objective will undoubtedly be the top5 or better.

Starts               Wins               Top5               Top10          Pole             Best result               At Roseville
116              1               20               66              0               1st (1x)               8 starts, best result : 2nd   

No. 4 Eric Nascimento (Nascimento-Joiner Motorsports)

Three consecutive top-fives for Bubba who finally seems free from the grip of bad luck which ruined his start to the season. This will be his first time in the West Series at Roseville but with his experienced crew chief Ty Joiner, he will be a candidate for victory.

Starts         Wins         Top5         Top10         Pole         Best result         At Roseville
16        0         4         6        0         2nd (1x)         n/a

No. 5 Buddy Shepherd (Jerry Pitts Racing)

Buddy Shepherd is back in the West Series. He who has only done one or two races per year since 2015.

Shepherd likes bullrings, having three top-five finishes including third positionj at Meridian in 2015. His last race at Roseville in the West was in 2019 when he finished seventh. And already at the time it was with owner/crew chief Jerry Pitts. And given what Kole Raz did in his debut with this car in the previous two races, Shepherd will be a strong contender for a big result.

Starts         Wins         Top5         Top10         Pole         Best result         At Roseville
9       03603rd1 start, best result : 7th

No. 7 Takuma Koga (Jerry Pitts Racing)

Will Koga’s bad series of four races away from the top-10 finally come to an end in Roseville? This is what we wish for the Japanese driver. And he has already twice obtained ninth position as the best result on the Californian short track. With his crew chief Denny Moyer, the objective will be firstly to have a problem-free race and secondly to have sufficient pace to fight for the top-10.

The arca menards series west returns to all american speedway.
Photo courtesy of Takuma Koga via Vincent Delforge.
Starts               Wins               Top5      Top10         Pole       Best result               At Roseville
109               0               4              23               0             5th (4x)               6 starts, best result 9th (2x)     

No. 13 Tyler Reif (Central Coast Racing)

The youngest of the Reif brothers has rediscovered the pleasure of driving since joining CCR. You can see it in his body language. He is conquering and demonstrates all his talent. The last race at Evergreen being indisputable proof of this. His association with experienced crew chief Michael Munoz works wonderfully even though they are only at the beginning of their relationship. The Victory Lane could be his this Saturday, even though he will make his first race at Roseville in a West Series car.

Starts               Wins               Top5               Top10      Pole      Best result               At Roseville
10   1     3     5     1     1st    n/a

No. 15 Sean Hingorani (Venturini Motorsports)

The championship leader has luck smiling on him. Because even if he has dominated the championship with four victories, the last two of which were acquired during the two previous races, he will be able to race with his mind free of a burden. That of the menace of Landen Lewis. His main rival in the championship, who was only one point behind in the standings, will not be present at the All American Speedway. Will Hingorani do the hat trick and earn his third straight victory. Note that the last two to have achieved this (Jake Drew in 2022 and Todd Gilliland in 2016 and 2017) were each time crowned champion. His crew chief will come on Kevin Reed, Jr.

Note that last year he had a complicated race at Roseville. But the past is the past!

Starts               Wins               Top5               Top10               Pole               Best result               At Roseville
13      4       4       5       1       1st (4x)       1 start, best result 15th

No. 16 Tanner Reif (Bill McAnally Racing)

Sixth last year in Roseville for his rookie year, Tanner was even disappointed with his result. A year later, a sixth position would be welcomed with joy for the eldest of the Reif brothers. The fault lies in a complicated sophomore season as he drives for the most victorious team in the history of the West Series. BMR is also very dominant on this track located right next to the team raceshop. With John Camilleri, his crew chief, will they finally return to victory and at the same time offer the McAnnaly family their 100th victory?

Starts               Wins               Top5               Top10               Pole               Best result               At Roseville 
19              2               7               13              2             1st (2x)               1 start, best result 6th 

No. 17 Kaden Honeycutt (McGowan Motorsports with Cook Racing Technologies)

Kaden Honeycutt, 20, from Willow Park, TX, will ultimately be behind the wheel of the No. 17 in place of Landen Lewis. The latter having to fail due to lack of sponsors. This will be his debut in the West Series, he who already has starts in ARCA, ARCA East, Camping World Truck and Xfinity Series with a few top10s in Truck and ARCA. Sean Samuels will be the crew chief.

Starts               Wins               Top5               Top10               Pole               Best result               At Roseville

No. 19 Eric Johnson, Jr. (Bill McAnally Racing)

After a rather complicated first career race on an oval in the West Series at Evergreen, Johnson, Jr. will be able to show if he has progressed on this type of track. Even though he works BMR, this will be his first time behind the wheel on the team’s home track. Chuck Jones will be his crew chief.

Starts               Wins               Top5               Top10               Pole         Best result               At Roseville 

No. 21 Ethan Nascimento (Nascimento-Joiner Motorsports)

Like many drivers this year, Ethan will discover the All American Speedway with a West Series car. His uncle and crew chief Mike Nascimento will do everything to offer a reliable car to the youngest of the Nascimento brothers. Because Ethan has not been spared from mechanical problems since the start of the season. The young driver has talent, as proof, the two times his car held up, he finished in the top-10.

Starts              Wins              Top5              Top10              Pole              Best result              At Roseville
6 (+ 1 DNS)         –   –   2   –   8th   n/a

No. 23 Bradley Erickson (Sigma Performance Services)

The adventure is over for Erickson with Naake-Klauer Motorsports. But the young driver from Phoenix, AZ, immediately found refuge in a new team for the rest of the season. A team led by Joe Farré in association with T.J. Clark. The latter also being the crew chief. The Las Vegas, NV-based team takes over the No. 23 in honor of the late Spencer Clark. Like any new team, adaptation time will be necessary but the objectives remain high. Last year at Roseville, Braldey finished 12th in what was at the time only his second career West Series race.

More info here:  

Starts             Wins             Top5             Top10             Pole             Best result             At Roseville
120       2       9       0       3rd        1 start, best result : 12th

No. 38 RJ Smotherman (Wood Motorsports) 

After a complicated start to the season at Lowden-Jackson Motorsports where he only experienced mechanical setbacks, Smotherman was forced to remain a spectator of the West Series the last few months. But he returns with owner John Wood, for whom he rode last year. And he finds the car with which he obtained a good seventh position right here in Roseville. It is also the return of the team led by John Wood.Robert Smotherman, his father, will be his crew chief.

Starts              Wins              Top5              Top10              Pole              Best result              At Roseville 
7      0           0           1           0           7th      1 start, best result : 7th

No. 50 Trevor Huddleston (High Point Racing)

Whatever happens Huddleston will gain at least one position in the championship with the absence of Landen Lewis. But he will have to closely monitor Tyler Reif who took back points from him at Evergreen. That said, 2023 is a good season for Trevor with the family team led by his father Tim. With his crew chief Jeff Schrader, the objective will be to achieve at least one podium, which Huddleston has already managed to do twice in Roseville with third positions acquired in 2019 and 2021. Let’s not forget his fifth place in 2020, confirming that this track suits him well.

Starts           Wins           Top5           Top10           Pole           Best result           At Roseville
61        3           23        51           2           1st (3x)         4 starts, best result : 3rd (2x)    

No. 55 Jake Bollman (High Point Racing)

Two top10s in three races. Bollman has good statistics for his first season in part time. He will discover Roseville in the West Series, a first for him on an oval smaller than half a mile like Irwindale or Bakersfield. But he is fast and almost never makes a mistake. Like previous times, Travis Thirkettle will be his crew chief.

Starts          Wins          Top5          Top10          Pole          Best result          At Roseville 
7th (2x)n/a

No. 70  Kyle Keller (Kennealy Keller Motorsports)

New team for Kyle even if nothing really changes for him since he will have the same car as that used in the last three races, the Ford from Last Chance Racing. His Crew Chief will always be Brian Kizer. Kyle retoured the TOP10 path during the last two races. But even if KKM is a team in full construction, the objectives are high. Both for this end of the season and for next year. For more infois, I invite you to click on the link:

Note that last year Keller had finished fifth in the Roseville race.

Starts              Wins              Top5              Top10              Pole              Best result              At Roseville
18     0        6        11        0        4th (3x)        1 start, best result 5th

No. 71 Nick Joanides (Jan’s Towing Racing)

Another new team, which demonstrates the good health and popularity of the West Series. Jan Qualkenbusch of Jan’s Towing is the project manager. Historic sponsor of Performance P-1 Motorsports, Joe Nava’s team, Qualkenbusch is realizing an old dream of having its own team in the West Series. For this he bought a Ford from Lowden-Jackson Motorsports and called on his friend Nick Joanides to drive it. Dave Jackson, also from LJM, will be the crew chief.

They have all known each other for decades and have already worked together in the past in other categories. The team has spent the last few days preparing the car which will carry the No. 71. Note that Nick Joanides will participate in his 25th race in the West Series. And that in 2018 he obtained his best career result in Roseville with fourth position.

Starts              Wins              Top5              Top10              Pole              Best result              At Roseville
24   0        1        8        0        4th       2 starts, best result : 4th

No. 83 Jalen Mack (Mack Motorsports)  

Withdraw four times in as many appearances on the entry list in two years. I don’t know what to say about Jalen anymore except that I really hope that this time he actually shows up. He took part in the Elko race in the ARCA Menards Series in June but was unable to start following a broken clutch. Its crew chief is not yet known.

Starts        Wins        Top5        Top10        Pole        Best result        At Irwindale   
0  0  0  0  0  n/a  n/a  

No. 88 Joey Iest (Naake-Klauer Motorsports)

It is with joy that we find Joey Iest behind the wheel of a West Series car for the rest of the season. He replaces Erickson at NKM, the team for which he has done all his races in the West Series so far since 2020. Mike Naake will be his crew chief. Together they obtained second and third positions in Roseville, respectively in 2021 and 2022. Iest is hungry for racing and will be keen to demonstrate that he deserved to do the season full time.

Starts             Wins             Top5             Top10             Pole             Best result             At Roseville
24191201st2 starts, best result 2nd  

Final notes    

-No car No. 41 in Roseville. Lowden Jackson Motorsports having given up on making the trip from Nevada due to lack of a driver providing additional budget.

-No car No. 77 either. Performance P-1 Motorsports, skipping the race, its driver Nick Joanides being engaged with a new team.

-Good news, No. 27 Bobby Hillis, Jr and his Fearce Creature Racing team will be back with a new car, from John Krebs’ former team, on the Las Vegas Bullring.

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