Whenever the ARCA Menards Series makes the trip to Roseville, California’s All American Speedway, things tend to venture onto the wild side. Saturday Night’s NAPA Autocare 150 was no exception, as the penultimate event of ARCA’s West Coast regional tour delivered some intense championship drama, an exciting last-lap pass, and a first-time winner.
Paul Pedroncelli Jr – a journeyman racer from Sonoma, California — used Joey Iest’s No. 54 as a crutch in the final set of corners to capture his first career victory in the ARCA Menards Series West, while simultaneously launching himself back into contention for the series title.
Leading only the final lap of the event, Pedroncelli’s chances at a victory – and subsequently the championship — seemed to be dashed as the race approached the halfway point, after getting caught up in an incident with Travis Milburn. Through a series of restarts, and misfortune from some of the race leaders, Pedroncelli was able to find himself in the catbird seat as the race got down to the closing laps.
Said misfortune came with under 15 laps to go when the series’ three points leaders Jesse Love, Jake Drew, and Cole Moore all spun entering turn one, drawing the caution flag once again. Both Iest and Pedroncelli – who entered the event tied for fourth in points — made it through the wreck and assumed the top-two spots.
— ARCA Menards Series (@ARCA_Racing) October 10, 2021
The Naake-Klauer Motorsports machine broke away from the pack on the restart and looked to be en-route to the win, when additional contact between Jesse Love and Jake Drew brought out the final caution of the evening, setting up a one-lap dash. In an intense conclusion to the 150-lap event, Pedroncelli was not to be denied, scurrying past Iest to capture his first victory and become the sixth winner of 2021.
Iest would have to settle for the runner-up spot, with Trevor Huddleston, Todd Souza, and Cole Moore rounding out the top-five. Stafford Smith, Christian Rose, Jake Drew, Takuma Koga, and Amber Slagle rounded out the top-10. Championship points leader entering the night, Jesse Love, finished in 12th-place, his second consecutive result outside the top-10.
With only a single ARCA Menards Series West race remaining in 2021, the top-five in standings – Love, Pedroncelli, Drew, Iest, and Moore — enter Phoenix Raceway within six points of each other, with sixth and seventh-place – Huddleston and Souza — potentially in range for a possible upset, if things fly off the handle again.
The series’ championship contenders will have to withstand an additional challenge at Phoenix, as the season-finale has provided the series’ most populous entries in recent seasons, with various industry members saying the entry list could possibly reach 30 cars for the one-mile track’s championship weekend.
2021 NAPA Autocare 150 Race Results from All American Speedway:
- No. 33 – Paul Pedroncelli Jr.
- No. 54 – Joey Iest (-0.266)
- No. 6 – Trevor Huddleston (-0.453)
- No. 13 – Todd Souza (-0.730)
- No. 99 – Cole Moore (-1.142)
- No. 38 – Stafford Smith (-1.268)
- No. 42 – Christian Rose (-1.638)
- No. 9 – Jake Drew (-1.940)
- No. 7 – Takuma Koga (-2.332)
- No. 17 – Amber Slagle (-2.781)
- No. 88 – Bridget Burgess (-7.004)
- No. 16 – Jesse Love (-1 Lap)
- No. 80 – Brian Kamisky (-2 Laps)
- No. 77 – Caleb Costner (-2 Laps)
- No. 1 – Jolynn Wilkinson (-2 Laps)
- No. 11 – Andrew Tuttle (-3 Laps)
- No. 51 – Dean Thompson (-4 Laps)
- No. 27 – Bobby Hillis Jr. (-6 Laps)
- No. 08 – John Wood (-11 Laps)
- No. 78 – Travis Milburn (OUT)
- No. 21 – Josh Fanopoulos (OUT)
- No. 17E – Taylor Gray (OUT)
- No. 32 – Paul Pedroncelli (OUT)
2021 ARCA Menards Series Point Standings After 8 of 9 Races:
- Jesse Love
- Paul Pedroncelli Jr. (-1pt)
- Jake Drew (-3pts)
- Joey Iest (-5pts)
- Cole Moore (-6pts)
- Trevor Huddleston (-15pts)
- Todd Souza (-26pts)
- Takuma Koga (-51pts)
- Bridget Burgess (-69pts)
- Bobby Hillis Jr. (-77pts)
- Dean Thompson (-156pts)
- Paul Pedroncelli (-166pts)
- Eric Nascimento (-188pts)
- Taylor Gray (-205pts)
- Josh Fanopoulos (-244pts)
- John Wood (-247pts)
- Stafford Smith (-252pts)
- Jolynn Wilkinson (-266pts)
- Hiroyuki Uno (-270pts)
- Mariah Boudreau (-270pts)