Friday, December 9, 2022

Jake Drew Secures ARCA West Championship, Sammy Smith Rallies From One Lap Penalty To Win ARCA West Finale At Phoenix

Jake Drew scored the ARCA Menards Series West Championship as Sammy Smith rallied from a lap penalty to win at Phoenix Raceway. Screengrab from FloRacing broadcast

Jake Drew, who missed out on the 2021 ARCA Menards Series West Championship in heartbreaking fashion, got retribution as he collected the 2022 ARCA Menards Series West championship Friday at Phoenix Raceway. While it was a heartbreaking defeat in the final race of 2021, Drew didn’t spend the year crying over spilled milk.

“Not because it got away, but just because I knew I was learning as fast as I was,” Drew said. “I was having so much fun with it. We knew we were going to have a good year this year and happy that we pieced it all together.”

While a 13th-place finish wasn’t what Drew had hoped for going into the race, as he had not finished outside the top-10 all year long, it was enough for him to take home the hardware.

“This team is a family, man,” Drew stated. “I can’t believe how hard everybody works at this organization and I’m so thankful for the opportunity they’ve all given me to do this. They all work so hard so I can succeed at this level and I’m just so thankful.”

While Drew finally nabbed his championship, Sammy Smith and the No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports team capped off a stellar 2022 ARCA season, winning the ARCA West Finale at Phoenix Raceway. Smith was dominant after starting from the pole and leading 75 laps, but it wasn’t smooth sailing to the checkered flag.

Smith and the team faced some adversity after contact that wrecked Talyor Gray heading into turn three with 49 to go.

Smith was held for a lap by ARCA Officials for ‘aggressive driving.’ Smith got the lucky dog on the next caution, drove up through the field, and survived several restarts to win the race.

Jesse Love came home second also after falling a lap down during the race break. Andres Perez de Lara was third, Landon Pembelton fourth, and Todd Souza taking fifth. After the contact, Gray finished 27th. Conner Jones, who was also involved in the accident, came home 28th.

Truck Series driver Carson Hocevar also had issues, after cutting a tire into turn two and hitting the wall early in the race, and ending his day early.

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