SONOMA, Calif. – Jake Drew’s dream season continued on Saturday, scoring his second straight ARCA Menards Series win in the General Tire 200 at Sonoma Raceway.
Drew, the polesitter, had the race in command for much of the afternoon, leading 48 of the race-shortened 56 laps. Following a multi-car accident that collected Landen Lewis, Cole Moore and PJ Pedroncelli in Turn 11, the track response team tried hard to clear the track for a one-lap dash to the finish.
However, with the NASCAR Cup Series scheduled to run their practice/qualifying session, the hard cut at 1:15 p.m. local time was in effect. Thus, the race ended under caution with Drew, Colby Howard and Dale Quarterley finishing in the top-three.
With the win, Drew extended his West points lead by 35 points over Todd Souza. Safe to say, Drew feels the momentum after capturing back-to-back wins and hopes he can replicate it on the ovals.
“It’s awesome to be on a roll like this. Now we can get one on an oval,” Drew said. “We’ve been knocking on the door for many races now and I think it’s time to go knock that one off the last too.”
Going forward, building momentum will be instrumental for the Bob Bruncati-owned organization as Sunrise Ford is the only team with multiple wins at three (two with Drew and one with Tanner Reif).
“Everything we’re doing right now is everything we need to do. Everyone is working hard and doing their part,” Drew said. “The cars have been strong every time we’ve shown up. Myself and Tanner are feeling good about everywhere we go. I think either of us have a good chance right now.”
During the race, Souza initially had one-up Drew and took the race lead on Lap 18. He stayed out front for two laps, but overshot Turn 7, allowing Drew to regain the lead. From there, it was no looking back for Drew.
“(Todd) got the lead there and had a strong restart,” Drew said. “It was still early in the race and time to be cautious.
“I have to remember the big picture and at least get to the end and battle for it. He made that mistake which was crucial. I’ve been telling everybody that saving the tires was crucial.
“To make big mistakes like that was something you couldn’t do. There were situations in the race where I felt I was about to back off and let it go. But it all worked out in our favor.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Colby Howard finished second, which was the best among the double-duty trio that later raced the DoorDash 250. On top of that, Howard was also the highest-finishing driver out of the Bill McAnally Racing stable.
“It was a lot of fun out there. I’ve learned a lot in these ARCA cars. These drivers are pretty rough,” Howard said. “Felt good running up front and wished we could’ve gone green. Could’ve made something happen, but it is what it is.”
Not often a driver outside the major West teams leave a race with a top-three outing. Even more so at Sonoma, which has been notorious for NASCAR national touring drivers owning the competition. Quarterley was able to break the mold with a third-place finish.
It’s his first top-three result since finishing second to Austin Cameron at Irwindale Speedway in 2004. With such a run, it’s brought confidence to the 61-year-old racer who was ecstatic about going into Mid-Ohio with a tremendous result.
The grandest ingredient to Quarterley’s solid result was indeed patience.
“Some of those guys that were definitely faster than I was,” Quarterley said. “I refused to put myself into a situation that they kept putting themselves in and it finally burned every single one of them.
“We’re running a limited schedule at this point. We don’t have 10 guys in the shop like we used to. It would be really easy to go back and turn it around and get ready for Mid-Ohio. So, it’s going to be awesome.”
There were several multi-car crashes that plagued the originally scheduled 75-lap contest. Perhaps, the most chaotic took place on Lap 22, when a two-car battle turned disastrous. Around mid-pack, both Bridget Burgess and Rodd Kneeland fought hard, not giving a single inch to each other.
Incidentally, Burgess and Kneeland tangled, sending the latter around. Behind them was Sebastian Arias, who ended up crashing onto Kneeland and sending the two into the Turn 8 barriers.
While Burgess continued and finished 10th to cap off a frustrating weekend, the same can’t be said about Kneeland and Arias. The drama escalated when an irate Kneeland confronted Arias, making his frustration about the crash clear.
Both drivers were checked and released from the care center. They discussed the matter further and things are in the clear.
“I just got caught on their mess,” said Arias. “We were trying to make up the positions that we were gaining. We were running in fifth and tried getting back at it. Rodd and I talked about it and we’re good now.”
Kneeland said the frustration really stemmed on Arias crashing into him more than the battle with Burgess.
“I had the lane going into seven and cleared Bridget,” Kneeland said. “They went off track and came up on track. She doored banged me once and got sideways.
“First time, I handled it. Second time, I was fine. Then I felt the third time I was sideways. Sebastian t-boned me and never lifted off the throttle. That was the upsetting part.
“He didn’t caused the whole wreck, but he ended it. He should’ve just got off the throttle, so he didn’t push me off the track. It’s unfortunate because it’s the best car I’ve ever had at this track.”
Kneeland felt the aggression had to come out at that moment rather than hold grudges with Arias and Burgess.
There’ll be no more action for ARCA West in June as its next stop will be at Irwindale Speedway on Saturday, July 2. Drew’s teammate, Reif, won at Irwindale earlier in the season.
2022 General Tire 200 at Sonoma Results
- 6 – Jake Drew
- 91 – Colby Howard
- 32 – Dale Quarterley
- 21 – Jack Wood
- 54 – Joey Iest
- 16 – Austin Herzog
- 04 – Eric Nascimento
- 13 – Todd Souza
- 86 – Tim Spuregon
- 88 – Bridget Burgess
- 85 – Vince Little
- 99 – Cole Moore
- 39 – Andrew Tuttle
- 17 – Landen Lewis
- 40 – Dean Thompson (crash)
- 33 – PJ Pedroncelli (crash)
- 52 – Ryan Philpott (crash)
- 9 – Tanner Reif (crash)
- 7 – Takuma Koga (crash)
- 68 – Rodd Kneeland (crash)
- 4 – Sebastian Arias (crash)
- 77 – Nick Joanides (mechanical)
- 31 – Paul Pedroncelli (brakes)
- 80 – Brian Kamisky (DNS)