PORTLAND, Oregon – “Finally!”
An elated Jake Drew exclaimed when he got out of his No. 6 Irwindale Speedway Ford after capturing his long-awaited maiden ARCA Menards Series West win during Saturday’s Portland 112 at Portland International Raceway.
“I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I finally got that first one and I’m hoping that maybe it gains tons of momentum now,” Drew told The Podium Finish. “We already had a point lead coming in here, but we made it that much bigger. Hopefully, we can keep stretching that out.
“Our car has been awesome everywhere we’ve gone so far this year. My guys work super hard — Bill (Sedgwick), Bob (Bruncati) and all my crew guys. Just super thankful.”
It’s no secret that Drew has had two monumental moments slip away from him since joining the series last season. Portland happened to be the track where a win was taken away after ARCA penalized him for cutting the Shelton Chicane on the final restart. After waiting several minutes at the start/finish line, thinking he’d be going to victory lane, that honor instead went to Taylor Gray on a warm September afternoon.
Fast forward to the championship race at Phoenix Raceway two months later. Drew was one of seven drivers who had a mathematical shot at the championship. While Ty Gibbs ended up winning the race, all eyes were on Drew who thought the championship was coming home to Bob Bruncati.
However, his then-teammate Trevor Huddleston was passed by Jesse Love as their race wasn’t done. The pass by Love resulted in him tying with Drew at 438 points. With Love sweeping Irwindale, he won the tiebreaker and his second straight West title.
When the 16-car field took the green flag on a downpour road course, it appeared Drew may have fallen out of contention after he and pole sitter Daniel Dye went off in Turn 4. This ordeal allowed Connor Mosack to take the race lead for a period of time.
With cautions and track conditions getting worse, Drew wouldn’t have to wait too long to get back to the front. Once he had the race in control, he had a large gap on Mosack throughout the afternoon.
The race would ultimately be cut short to 42 out of the scheduled 57 laps and as soon as Drew took the checkered flag, all the drama from last year evaporated. When he was behind the wheel, Drew wasn’t thinking about how the race was in the palm of his hand.
“I had a good idea of what was going on around me. The windshield was fogging up so much, I was telling them, ‘spot in front of me.’ They were giving as much info as you can,” Drew commented.
“I knew where everyone was at, but it’s just so treacherous out there. It was key to keep the thing on the road. That was step one, so I’m just happy to be able to do that.”
With the conditions being treacherous all race long, Mosack hoped Drew would make a mistake. He told The Podium Finish about the conditions getting worse compared to what he raced in the Xfinity Series where a crash ended his race in 28th.
“For how the race went, we’ll take second. It was hard. We had the speed but when you get close to the leader, there was so much spray that you couldn’t see anything. You couldn’t do anything with him. We just kind of had to let him go and hope he made a mistake. He didn’t, so we ended up second,” Mosack explained.
“It was pretty dangerous conditions. We couldn’t really see anything and you were hydroplaning at random. I think the race probably should’ve been called a little earlier. It is what it is and we’ll go home with a second-place finish. Our High Point University Chevy was fast but needed a clean track.”
Rounding out the top five at Portland were Todd Souza, Daniel Dye and Takuma Koga. For Souza, it marked his first top-three finish since finishing second at Roseville in 2020. Koga on the other hand, this was his second straight top-five at Portland.
It won’t be too long until ARCA West have the fifth race of their campaign. It’ll take place at Sonoma Raceway for the running of the General Tire 200. The race window is slated for Saturday, June 11 at 2:30 p.m. ET on FloRacing.
NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Briscoe is the defending race winner. The last time a non-NASCAR national touring driver won in “Wine Country” was Will Rodgers in 2018.
2022 Portland 112 Results
- 6 – Jake Drew
- 17 – Connor Mosack
- 13 – Todd Souza
- 43 – Daniel Dye
- 7 – Takuma Koga
- 6 – Tanner Reif
- 88 – Bridget Burgess
- 33 – PJ Pendroncelli
- 16 – Austin Herzog
- 54 – Joey Iest
- 99 – Cole Moore
- 39 – Andrew Tuttle
- 4 – Eric Nascimento
- 85 – Vince Little
- 32 – Dale Quarterley
- 31 – Paul Pedroncelli