The 2023 ARCA Menards Series West season wraps up as a part of the NASCAR national series championship race weekend at Phoenix Raceway.
Thirty competitors are entered, continuing three-straight years [2021-present] of at least 30 drivers in an ARCA series event at the 1-mile racetrack.
With the focus on the three NASCAR national series championships, ARCA editor Mark Kristl has some stats for the readers to breezily prepare for the conclusion of the 2023 ARCA racing season.
Sean Hingorani must finish at least 25th to win the West driver’s championship. He has a 30-point lead over Trevor Huddleston and a 33-point lead over Tyler Reif. It would be the first driver’s championship for Venturini Motorsports in the West, the team’s first foray into the series full-time. Hingorani has been the class of the field, with series highs in victories (4), top fives (6) and laps led (385). Hingorani also holds the tiebreaker with the most wins.
The No. 17 Cook Racing Technologies team has an 18-point lead in the owner’s standings over VMS’ No. 15. Landen Lewis piloted the No. 17 for the first eight races of the season before he departed, and Kaden Honeycutt took over and immediately made a splash in the series. Honeycutt won his series debut, scored a second win at Madera Speedway and has amassed the second-most laps led this season with 296.
Eleven drivers have competed full-time in the West in 2023, the most since the series became a part of the ARCA platform. It is also the most full-time competitors among the three ARCA series in 2023, a sign that the West indeed has a strong field.
That number does not include full-time teams CRT and Naake-Klauer Motorsports No. 88 Ford. In addition, two full-timers switched teams midseason. Bradley Erickson switched teams, from Naake-Klauer to Sigma Performance Services and Tyler Reif left Lowden-Jackson Motorsports to Central Coast Racing. Todd Souza therefore moved from the No. 13 to the No. 3, adding another racecar to the field. The strength of the field also wisely reflects series officials’ decision to have 12 races on the 2024 West schedule.
VMS has 99 wins across the three ARCA series and what better way to capture its historic 100th win than at Phoenix, hopefully with champion Hingorani. The Toyota powerhouse has four drivers entered in the season finale. The team has gone to victory lane at Phoenix once, in the inaugural ARCA event there in 2020.
VMS has enjoyed a phenomenal year, taking home 11 wins in the national series en route to winning both the owners’ and drivers’ championships. In the ARCA Menards Series East, VMS won twice and its Nos. 20 and 15 finished second and fourth in the owner’s standings. To cap it all off, team owner Billy Venturini made a cameo appearance participating in the East race at Flat Rock Speedway, widely grinning after a fourth-place performance.
Want a number to one-up the VMS total ARCA wins? Bill McAnally Racing has 107 wins across the ARCA platform, dating back to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series days. BMR has 99 West wins, a win in the 2003 Toyota All-Star Showdown and seven East wins. While VMS is gunning for its 100th organizational win, BMR is gunning for a historic accomplishment in the West series:
Yes, 100 West victories. With the retirement of Bob Bruncati, BMR is now the West powerhouse, akin to VMS in the national series. With driver Tanner Reif at the helm of the No. 16, BMR hasn’t dominated like in previous years. Reif has accumulated five top fives and six top 10s, though he has not led any laps this season. At Phoenix, he has one top 10, a 10th in the 2022 West season finale, in his three trips there.
The Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 100 on Friday (Nov. 3) wraps up the 40-race ARCA 2023 campaign. Of those 40 events, 19 different drivers have won races in the ARCA series, counting those combination victors as one win in each series [i.e., Tyler Reif counts twice for his earlier win at Phoenix, a combo race for the main and West]. In the West, seven different drivers have won, only one less than the main series, which had eight more races in its season.
There are several talented drivers entered in Friday’s 100-lap race, including many hungry for their first win of the season. Notably, series regulars Erickson, Tanner Reif, Souza, Kyle Keller, Takuma Koga, Eric Nascimento and David Smith all have gone winless in 2023. More surprisingly, combined those drivers have not led a single lap this season. Will one of them break through to give ARCA 20 different winners across its three series in 2023?
Or how about William Sawalich, who dominated the spring event? Or NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Dean Thompson? Or Jake Finch, who won an East race at another 1-mile racetrack, Dover Motor Speedway? We will find out Friday when the West drivers battle for 100 laps in the opening salvo of the NASCAR championship race weekend.
The West season concludes at Phoenix on Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET with live coverage provided by FloRacing.
About the author
Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.
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