MONROE, Wash. – The 1000th ARCA Menards Series West race boiled down between Sunrise Ford’s Tanner Reif and Jake Drew. In the end, it was Reif who had the last laugh after fending Drew off in the final two laps laps to win Saturday’s NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Evergreen Speedway.
Following a Lap 120 crash involving David Smith, the focus shifted on who would be the guy that would extend Sunrise Ford’s Evergreen streak to four straight wins. When the race got back underway, Reif was able to dethrone Drew and as it came down to the final 10 laps, Reif had a three-second lead.
Much like two-time West champion Bill Sedgwick said after the race regarding the championship picture, “It’s not over until it’s over.”
Dealing with lapped traffic, including Chris Lowden, the advantage for Reif faded and allowed Drew one final effort of snatching the win away. Thus, ending Drew’s shot of joining an elite group of racers that have won four straight West races.
In front of Reif’s family, emotions rushed in as the family were elated to see Reif score his second career ARCA West win.
As soon as he got out of the No. 9 Vegas Fastener MFG Ford Fusion, Reif climbed the fence with a couple of his crew members.
Once again symbolizing, to successfully navigate around the 5/8 mile oval, you must get through the Bob Bruncati-owned entries. The streak began with Derek Thorn in 2018 and it will continue with Reif as the 2022 race winner. Above everything else, he will forever be known as the winner of the 1000th West race that spans 68 years.
“It feels so good to be a part of the 1000th win in ARCA West race. They’ve been doing it for so long and have had so many good drivers. Really good to be in it and make a milestone mark,” said Reif. “Winning four years in a row for Sunrise Ford. They bring really good cars here. It’s a really good track, a really good driver track. Nothing more I can wish for.”
The last man to score four straight West wins remains Todd Gilliland in 2017 after Drew finished second.
Despite coming up short, Drew continues his season of dominance as the next stop is Portland, the site where the winning ways began two months ago.
Drew felt the second half was when the team really shined as the first 88 laps was the series modern-day team rival known as Sunrise vs. Bill McAnally Racing. Both Drew and Reif battled Cole Moore and Landen Lewis throughout that span until the break unfolded.
Afterwards, Moore and Lewis could not replicate their strong runs as they crossed the line fourth and sixth respectively.
“I think we had a really awesome car. Sunrise were dominant in the second half. It was really between me and Tanner. The first half was a good battle with Cole and Landen. There was a lot of really competitive cars,” Drew explained.
“The last two laps, we were making big games but ran out of time ultimately. I wished we had a little bit more time at the end but I’m looking forward to Portland in two weeks.”
With the season continuing to fall in Sunrise Ford’s lap, Sedgwick explained how these wins have boosted morale for the organization he has been involved with for a long time.
“It’s amazing how (Tanner) has adapted to these cars. This his is sixth race ever in those cars, so he’s done a really good job,” said the 1991-92 West Champion. “Both of our drivers have never seen (Evergreen) before, so it was a good testament for our drivers.”
As last year’s West title battle at Phoenix was an indication, Sedgwick said the organization doesn’t look into the title picture as they’re more invested on how the team does on a race-by-race basis.
“We don’t look into that. It’s not over until it’s over,” said Sedgwick. “We’re focused on each race, trying to win it and let the points fall where they may. But at the same time, we don’t want to make a bad move and do something stupid to give away points either. That’s why we’re points racing.”
Lost in the celebratory madness is Joey Iest, who finished third. What started off as a quiet top-five run, Iest made his presence known. Before Drew caught Reif, Iest was giving Drew a run for his money as business picked up for the runner-up spot. The ever-elated Iest explained the closing battle with Drew that led to his best finish of the season.
“We had a really good run going,” said Iest. “We were able to catch Jake but he kind of stole a line and had a good battle. I tried catching him, but couldn’t quite get him.”
Going into Portland in two weeks time, Iest is still looking for his second career West win as he won at Colorado National Park last July. He will have four more chances of getting the job done.
“We’ve been there a couple times. Hopefully, it’s not rainy so we can get a good run but I’m really excited for the next few races,” said Iest.
ARCA West’s second visit to Portland International Raceway will be a part of the INDYCAR Grand Prix weekend for the second year in a row. The race will commence Saturday, September 2 at a time yet to be announced.
Taylor Gray won a controversial inaugural race last September while Drew won the rain-shortened race early this season.
2022 NAPA Auto Parts 150 Results
- 9 – Tanner Reif (R)
- 6 – Jake Drew
- 54 – Joey Iest
- 99 – Cole Moore
- 13 – Todd Souza
- 16 – Landen Lewis (R)
- 12 – Kyle Keller (R)
- 50 – Trevor Huddleston
- 7 – Takuma Koga
- 88 – Bridget Burgess (-1 lap)
- 39 – Andrew Tuttle (R) (-9 laps)
- 11 – Chris Lowden (R) (-22 laps)
- 05 – David Smith (R) (OUT)
- 4 – Sean Hingorani (R) (OUT)
- 21 – RJ Smotherman (R) (OUT)