Friday, July 30, 2021

ARCA West 2021 At Colorado: Race Preview

#ARCA West 2021 At Colorado: Race Preview

July 31, 2021 “NAPA Auto Parts Colorado 150” (150 laps/50 miles)

By Nascarvd Nascarvédé


#ARCA West 2021 At Colorado: Race Preview

Almost a month's wait since the Irwindale race! But our patience is rewarded with a nice entry list of 18 drivers. Especially since this race has not seen so many entrants since 2018. With even a sad record of only 11 drivers last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


This .375-mile paved oval bullring still offers a lot of spectacles. This will be the 19th race of the West Series here since 1995. As often it's Bill McAnally Racing who holds the record for wins with eight, the last two with Hailie Deegan in 2019 and Jesse Love last year.


Eternal rival Bruncati Racing follow with three. Jesse Love had totally dominated this race in 2020 en route to his first championship. Note that Chris Eggleston with 3 successes is the most victorious driver in history at the Colorado National Speedway.


The key to success will be tire management because the race takes place in one segment and it's forbidden (except punctures) to change tires throughout the race.



I've said everything about this track in previous years so I'm going to focus on the entry list.


#4 Eric Nascimento

The Nascimento family made a deal with Velocity Racing, the family team that raced Jack Wood in the West Series in previous seasons, to use one of their cars. A good car because Jack had shown it was fast. Let's just hope the reliability is there this time around. The team uses the #4, the owner's license of which belongs to Bill McAnally Racing. That's why Alex McAnally's name is on the entry list. But the Nascimento family will take care of everything. Father Mike being the crew chief. This will be Eric's first West Series oval race after a successful run in Sonoma in June.


#6 Trevor Huddleston

The CNS is a short track that is doing well for Trevor as he had 1 top5 and 3 top10 in 3 races. Best result, a 3rd position in 2018. He got the 6th position at Irwindale, his best result this season. Now is the time to prove he can still win races. His 6th position in the championship is not worthy of a driver whose in his 4th full season in a top team like Bruncati Racing and with Bill Sedgwick as crew chief


#7 Takuma Koga

Irwindale’s race ended violently in the wall for Takuma following contact with Amber Balcaen. It’s one of his worst start to a career. But if you look at the stats, in recent years it's always in the 4th race of the season that Takuma gets his first top10. Regarding Jerry Pitts’s team, 3 races without a top10, this had never happened. But the potential is there. In addition, the CNS is precisely the type of bullring that Takuma likes. In 4 races here, he got 2 top10s.


#08 John Wood

What a pleasure to see John behind the wheel, who had been absent last season due to the pandemic. He obtained two top10s in 8 races at the CNS, including a superb 6th position in 2019. The best career result in 84 starts. Eternal friend Mike Holleran will be the crew chief.


#9 Jake Drew

A pole at Sonoma, a nice 4th position at Irwindale. The rookie seems to be comfortable regardless of the type of circuit. He and his crew chief Jeff Schrader seem to have found a perfect alchemy and he will be a serious candidate for the 2021 title of champion.


#13 Todd Souza

The experienced driver from Watsonville, CA is having the season of his life this year. 3 top10 in 3 races and leadership in the championship tied with Dean Thompson. The CNS is an oval that Todd appreciates with 4 top10s in 5 races including a 3rd position in 2019 as the best result. Last year he only finished 8th following an accident. CCR held a private session with two cars in preparation for this race.


#16 Jesse Love

Last year he dominated the race and claimed his third victory of the season. Leading him straight to the title of champion. This year for Jesse, the results are like a roller coaster! One race is fine and the next one is not. 6th in Phoenix, 19th in Sonoma and 1st in Irwindale. I hope Jesse will make the stats lie and have two good results in a row this season! If he wins, Jesse would join the very select club of drivers who have won the Colorado race twice in a row. A club currently made up of two members, Mike Duncan and Chris Eggleston.


#19 Jolynn Wilkinson

JoJo  will be making his West Series debut. She who drives in SLM and participates in the BMR Drivers Academy this year will be at the wheel of the 3rd car from BMR, the #19. A car that has been successively driven by Derek Kraus, Eric Nascimento and Amber Balcaen this season. She will be the 7th driver to use the #19 since BMR was created in 1992. And let’s note that after Hailie Deegan and Amber Balcaen, she will be the 3rd girl to ride with the #19. John Camilleri will be her crew chief.


#21 Josh Fanopoulos

What a pleasure to see that Josh has found a good sponsor who should allow him to participate in all races this season. Change of number for the occasion. But it’s still John Wood’s team. Joe Daley will be the crew chief.


#27 Bobby Hillis, Jr.

It's not just Todd Souza having his best career start to the season, Bobby is also. With 2 top10s in 3 races. To avoid damaging his new car, the old Kamree will be released at the CNS. A car known for its slowness but which is a favorite with spectators. Oddly enough, despite a career that started in 2001, this will only be Bobby's 4th race on the CNS (2004, 2019-2020).


#31 Paul Pedroncelli

The father seems to have taken a liking to the West Series. What was to be a one shot in Sonoma has been going on ever since. And that's good ! But like in Irwindale, in the event of a problem with P.J.'s car, Chevrolet #31 will be renumbered as #33 because it's first and foremost the son's backup car. But to prove the seriousness of the Pedroncellis' approach, Rodd Kneeland will once again be the crew chief. Especially since the father is getting closer to the top10. 13th in Sonoma and 11th in Irwindale.


#33 Paul Pedroncelli, Jr.

Did P.J. and his crew chief Ty Joiner dream of such a start to the season? I honestly don't think so. Because without this engine failure at Irwindale, P.J. would not be “only” 7th in the championship. But he's only 11 points behind the leader. The dream can still go on. It will be his first race at the CNS.


#38 Hiroyuki Ueno

Our Japanese friend is playing overtime with an extra race. And that's good. Because he was not unworthy at Irwindale. On the contrary, his race was serious and the goal of learning perfectly fulfilled. The Ford #38 is not the fastest car, that's for sure, but this chassis has a great merit, that of having allowed so many drivers to cut their teeth in the West Series in the last few years. Mike Holleran having the gift of splitting himself, he will also be the crew chief of #38, just as he is also of #08. But since the two cars are from the same team, that makes things easier!


#51 Dean Thompson

15th in Phoenix, 6th in Sonoma and 2nd in Irwindale (with pole). The rookie impresses everyone. Oh yes, I forgot to say that he's also the leader of the championship! The association between Bruncati Racing and High Point Racing is a perfect success. As does the relationship between Dean and his crew chief Travis Thirkettle. This is definitely THE SURPRISE of the year. I have no doubts that #51 will be on Victory Lane before the end of the season.


#54 Joey Iest

FINALLY !!! It took 7 races to finally see Joey get his first career top10 (3rd at Irwindale). Yet in each race, he was among the fastest. But incredible bad luck followed him like its shadow. Mike Naake can catch his breath. Joey is talented and with high spirits, he will be formidable this weekend!


#77 Mariah Boudrieau

The Colorado driver will make her debut on a track she knows all about. An advantage especially with the limited practice time provided by ARCA at the CNS. Another advantage for Mariah is to start with a team renowned for the quality of its equipment. The #77 of PP1M being regularly in the top10. Joe Nava and his team have been participating in the West Series since 1998 and have 5 wins, 27 top5, 76 top10 and 2 poles in 181 races. Mariah will be the 23rd driver of the team and the 2nd woman after Michelle Theriault in 2005. Dave McKenzie will be the crew chief.


#88 Bridget Burgess

After a great race in Sonoma, Irwindale’s one will not leave good memories for the Burgess family. Not fast enough and ultimately the collateral victim of an accident. 10th last year at the CNS, she has the potential to do better.


#99 Cole Moore

Ultra domineering in BMRDA races, Cole has a little more trouble in the West Series. Yet the results are good. 4th in Sonoma and 5th in Irwindale. But despite everything, Cole seems a tone lower and is not yet contending for the win. But it's only a matter of time and his crew chief Mario Isola is a great asset. The level this year in the West Series is incredible with many contenders for victory in every race. He finished 14th in 2016 for his only race at the CNS.


Now it's time for the show.


Have a good race!


All results here


NAPA Auto Parts Colorado 150


No comments: