Wednesday, March 22, 2023

‘This Has Been the Best Day of My Goddamn Life,’ Tanner Reif Goes Wire-to-Wire for Maiden ARCA West Victory at Irwindale

Well… it really doesn’t get any more dominant than that, does it?

16-year-old Tanner Reif, in just his second start in the ARCA Menards Series West, has put forward an incredible performance at Irwindale Speedway, going wire-to-wire to capture his maiden victory for Sunrise Ford Racing.

The Las Vegas, Nevada-native snaps a long winless streak for championship-winning team owner Bob Bruncati, whose last victory in the ARCA Menards Series came in August 2020 at Douglas County Speedway, with Blaine Perkins.

“This has been the best day of my goddamn life, I’m sorry,” Reif told Jesse Punch following the 150-lap event. “I want to thank the team, my family, my sponsors, everyone that helps us get out here, I’m out of breath, I’m so sorry.”

“Man, I think it’s the first of many, I think we’re here to stay, I really think so,” Reif continued. “The team did such a good job, I train every day and I dedicate my life to this, and I really put more work than I ever have into anything, I’m really proud of everyone that helped us get here.”

Scoring the pole position by more than a tenth of a second, Reif faced a moderate challenge in the early portion of the event, as a heated four-car battle for second continuously put pressure on the Sunrise Ford Racing machine.

Following the race’s halfway break, Reif was able to scurry away from Trevor Huddleston and Jake Drew, to hold a constant lead throughout the race’s second half.

However, with three laps remaining, contact between Drew and Chris Lowden sent the No. 11 Chevrolet SS spinning into the outside wall, triggering an overtime restart.

What seemed like a legitimate opportunity for Reif to miss out on the victory, quickly turned into a non-issue, after Cole Moore made contact with Trevor Huddleston on the restart, sending the No. 50 down the track into Jake Drew.

From that point, Reif was able to stretch out a massive lead, while the drivers behind battled for second place in a tight pack that featured moments of four-wide racing.

In the chaos of the restart, Bill McAnally Racing teammates Cole Moore and Austin Herzog snuck through for second and third-place finishes, with Jake Drew coming home in fourth.

PJ Pedroncelli, who suffered some unusual right-side damage early in the event, was able to rebound to finish inside the top-five, salvaging solid points from what could have been a damning day in his hunt for the ARCA West title.

Trevor Huddleston, Takuma Koga, Sebastian Arias, Todd Souza, and Joey Iest rounded out the top-10 in the field of 15 entries at Irwindale Speedway.

After two of 11 ARCA Menards Series West events, Sunrise Ford Racing teammates Jake Drew and Tanner Reif are separated by two points at the top of the series’ point standings. Cole Moore (-4), Austin Herzog (-8), and Todd Souza (-12) round out the top-five in points.

ARCA Menards Series West at Irwindale Results:

  1. No. 9 – Tanner Reif
  2. No. 99 – Cole Moore (-1.494s)
  3. No. 16 – Austin Herzog (-1.756s)
  4. No. 6 – Jake Drew (-2.473s)
  5. No. 33 – PJ Pedroncelli (-3.151s)
  6. No. 50 – Trevor Huddleston (-4.623s)
  7. No. 7 – Takuma Koga (-1 Lap)
  8. No. 4 – Sebastian Arias (-1 Lap)
  9. No. 13 – Todd Souza (-3 Laps)
  10. No. 54 – Joey Iest (-3 Laps)
  11. No. 77 – Nick Joanides (-3 Laps)
  12. No. 88 – Bridget Burgess (-4 Laps)
  13. No. 11 – Chris Lowden (-10 Laps)
  14. No. 21 – Stafford Smith (-79 Laps)
  15. No. 31 – Paul Pedroncelli (-150 Laps)

ARCA Menards Series West Points After 2 of 11 Races:

  1. Jake Drew 79pts
  2. Tanner Reif (-2pts)
  3. Cole Moore (-4pts)
  4. Austin Herzog (-8pts)
  5. Todd Souza (-12pts)
  6. PJ Pedroncelli (-13pts)
  7. Joey Iest (-14pts)
  8. Takuma Koga (-16pts)
  9. Sebastian Arias (-24pts)
  10. Bridget Burgess (-26pts)
Joseph Srigley
Joseph Srigley
University of Windsor | Business Administration - Supply Chain & Data Analytics Editor at

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