LEBANON, Tenn. – Jake Drew dominated the 2022 ARCA Menards Series West season to the tune of four wins and nine top-five finishes in 11 races.
But until this Friday’s (June 23) NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway, Drew hadn’t made a single start in NASCAR or ARCA in 2023.
“I’ve been staying ready as much as I can, haven’t been doing much racing besides a little go kart stuff here and there,” Drew told Frontstretch. “I did move from SoCal to Mooresville [N.C.].
“So, I’m enjoying that and getting situated with that and just going around and meeting a lot of new people and seeing a lot of new things and hoping to get some more racing under my belt this year.”
For his one scheduled Truck race in ThorSport Racing’s No. 66 Ford, Drew qualified 24th. He gradually worked his way through the field throughout the night, and with 10 laps to go, he was quietly poised for a top-10 in ninth. Even after a late caution shuffled the field on pit strategy, Drew rebounded to finish 12th in his Truck debut after a slow stop left him restarting in the back with fresh tires.
“I’m not one to grade myself, but I feel pretty happy with how I did for sure,” Drew said. “That last restart I think maybe we should’ve went to the bottom – it was kind of where we were making up ground on restarts all night long – but [I] was just kind of stuck in traffic there and was waiting for a hole that wasn’t really coming as soon as we wanted.
“Once it came, I don’t know many spots we gained that last couple of laps … but super happy with everybody. Everybody’s support helping me out, ThorSport, [sponsor] Capstone, everybody did an awesome job tonight helping me guide through everything. Just happy to have brought it home and learned all night long and finish all the laps like I planned.”
With no further races on the schedule at the moment, did Drew feel that he did enough for the garage area to take notice?
“I mean, I sure hope [I made a statement],” Drew said. “I would love to get back in the seat some more. Just going to live off this night for a while and learn off it so that whenever that next opportunity comes, I’m more prepared.”
Drew wound up second-best among the Thorsport-prepared trucks. Ben Rhodes finished ahead of him in ninth, Matt Crafton ran a disappointing 15th while both Hailie Deegan (28th) and Ty Majeski (31st) ran into separate problems that left them many laps off the pace.
About the author
Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.
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