Race Weekend Central

Landen Lewis Grabs First 2023 ARCA West Race Win from Pole

After starting the race from the pole, Landen Lewis won his first race of the 2023 ARCA Menards Series West season at Portland International Raceway on Friday (June 2). 

Lewis held off NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Cole Custer on an intense final restart with two laps to go, getting around Custer on the white flag and holding him off for the win.

“I knew I had really good restarts all day long, so I wasn’t doubting myself,” Lewis told FloRacing. “We got side by side down there, and it was just really hard racing.”

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Custer eventually brought his No. 55 Ford home in second place, with series veteran and road course ace Dale Quarterley finishing in third. To round out the top five, William Sawalich brought home his heavily damaged No. 18 in fourth, with Xfinity Series rookie Parker Retzlaff finishing fifth.

Bradley Erickson finished in sixth position after spending much of the race one lap down, and Caleb Shrader, who made his series debut for Bill McAnally Racing, finished seventh. Takuma Koga, Davey Magras and Eric Johnson Jr. rounded out the top 10. 

On the race’s initial start, Lewis powered ahead of Hingorani as they led the field into turn 4, bypassing the frontstretch chicane for the first time. The entirety of the field remained relatively clean throughout the first handful of laps on the nearly two-mile road course. Tanner Reif was the first driver to find himself off the race track, exiting the circuit in turn 10 on lap four.

Custer also found himself off track after heavy contact with Sawalich on lap 5. During the incident, Sawalich sustained heavy damage to the front end of his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, forcing him to pit road. However, the team was able to keep Sawalich on track. 

The first caution of the race was brought out on lap 8 after Todd Souza wrecked his No. 13 car into the tire barriers in turn 5, with a brief fire coming out the hood of the car. Souza led the field in practice speeds earlier in the day but was unable to continue after the incident. The yellow flag period eventually turned into a red flag, as Dylan Lupton, who is pulling double duty at Portland this weekend, stopped on track when his No. 24 Chevrolet caught fire after an apparent brake failure. 

Despite the building chaos in the middle of the field, Lewis held the race lead over Hingorani for the entire eight-lap duration of the initial green flag run. Even after the race restarted on lap 12, there were no changes for the lead position, as Lewis stayed on point. However, two laps after the restart, on lap 14, Xfinity Series regular Riley Herbst got around Hingorani for the second position. 

The top three remained consistent until the field was put under caution once again on lap 16 after Kyle Keller had a mechanical failure in his No. 70 Chevrolet on the backstretch, ending his race prematurely. Under the caution period, Lewis brought his No. 17 to pit road off-cycle from the other leaders, handing the control of the restart over to Herbst. Herbst maintained the lead until lap 30 when the halfway race break caution was displayed. Custer had briefly taken the lead right before the caution was displayed, but Herbst was able to quickly get back around him. 

Herbst once again led the field to green to begin the second half of the race, but after changing lanes to block Trevor Huddleston, Custer was given the preferred line into turn 4, working past Herbst to claim the lead. 

With 14 laps left in the race, Herbst brought his No. 5 down pit road from the second position after smoke began rolling out the back. Both Herbst and Custer had shown smoke throughout the run, but Herbst’s car showed significantly more smoke, likely indicating a mechanical failure and ending his race. Not long after, with 10 laps remaining in the race, the caution was brought out after Eric Nascimento stalled his No.4 on track. 

After a lengthy caution period to clean up the track, the green flag was waved again with five laps to go in the race. The field didn’t get to complete a lap, however, as Tyler Reif stalled on track with damage to the left side of his No. 41 Ford. 

When the field took the green flag once again, it was a two-lap dash to the finish of the event, with Custer in command of the lead and Lewis restarting beside him. Lewis was able to get by Custer on the restart after contact with Hingorani, but Custer was able to get back to his bumper shortly after taking the white flag. After a lengthy side-by-side battle, Custer slipped up, allowing Lewis to gain full control of the lead and the win. Custer was able to rebound to second after Hingorani and Huddleston made contact in turn 11, coming to the checkered flag. 

ARCA West Results from Portland

The ARCA Menards Series West takes to the track again next Friday, June 9, at Sonoma Raceway for the General Tire 200. The green flag for that event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET and the race can be seen exclusively on FloRacing. 

About the author

Josh joined Frontstretch in 2023 and currently covers the ARCA Menards Series. Born and raised in Missouri, Josh has been watching motorsports since 2005. He currently is studying for a Mass Communication degree at Lindenwood University

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