It was a historic day at the Las Vegas Bullring, as Gracie Trotter became the first female to win in ARCA competition. Grabbing the checkered flag wasn’t all that easy for Trotter, since she had to maintain the lead through numerous cautions near the end of the General Tire 150 and fend off a hard-charging Gio Scelzi and polesitter Jesse Love for her first career ARCA West win.
“The car was good,” Trotter said to NBCSN following her win. “I mean, it wasn’t tight or loose one bit. The car would roll through the corner pretty good. Today, we thought we were going to be a little bit tight, but (Crew Chief) Roger Bracken worked his magic today. I never had a perfect race car until today. I’m really happy we were able to get our first win!”
Prior to the General Tire 150, a qualifying session was held, and Jesse Love in his No. 19 Bill McAnally Toyota, sat on the pole with a time of 14.94 seconds.
Love, the Menlo Park, California native, led through the first 35 laps before being challenged by the No. 6 of Trevor Huddleston. Huddleston, however, became the first lead change of the race, passing Love for the top spot at Lap 36. Unfortunately for Huddlestone, his lead was short-lived as the No. 6 Bob Bruncati Ford ended up in the Turn 3 and 4 walls, and out of the race early.
With Huddleston eliminated from the race, this saw Bill McAnnally teammates Love and Trotter make up the Lap 54 restart. Love held the lead momentarily before Trotter took the top spot. Though, another caution flew just three laps later, when another Bob Bruncati machine saw trouble. This time, it was the No. 6 of Blaine Perkins, who hit the wall hard off the exit of Turn 2. The incident left Perkins out of the race and credited with a 10th place finish.
From that point on, Trotter would easily drive away from the field without much challenge from the back. Regardless, four more cautions would fly within the last 100 laps of the event. Two of them for debris on Laps 68 and 104, and then two for incidents. One occurred with 20 laps to go when Love accidentally made contact with the No. 88 of Bridget Burgess, which sent her spinning on the frontstretch. Eventually, the final yellow flew inside 15 to go, as the No. 50 of Holley Hollan was up in the Turn 3 wall.
After the numerous yellows, Love and Scelzi knew they had one final chance to make a last-ditch effort for the victory as the final restart came with nine laps to go. Despite their efforts, Trotter maintained the lead and took home the checkered flag in just her eighth ARCA Menards West Series start. Gio Scelzi, Jesse Love, Kyle Keller (making his ARCA debut competition), and Todd Souza rounded out the top five finishers in the General Tire 150.
With his third-place finish, Love gained his eighth top-five of the 2020 season and keeps the championship points lead over Blaine Perkins by seven points.
“Congratulations to the team (Bill McAnally), 1-2-3 is pretty a big deal,” Love said to NCBSN. “I’m not sure when the last time that happened for the West Series. Just super cool for Bill, he’s done a gat job managing the team, and getting everyone faster. But for us, we just got beat today. You win together, and lose together. We’ll get better and comeback better next month.”
There were six cautions for 25 laps, and seven lead changes among eight different leaders.
Official Results following the General Tire 150 at Las Vegas Bullring.
- Gracie Trotter, led 95 laps
- Gio Scelzi
- Jesse Love, led 41 laps
- Kyle Keller
- Todd Souza
- Takuma Koga
- Bridget Burgess, 2 laps down
- Bobby Hillis, JR, 4 laps down
- Holley Hollan, 6 laps down
- Blaine Perkins, OUT, Suspension
- Joey Iest, OUT, Ignition
- Trevor Huddleston, OUT, Suspension, led 14 laps
Up Next: The ARCA Menards West Series will head to All American Speedway on Friday, Oct. 23, live on NBC Sports Trackpass beginning at 7:05 p.m. ET with 125 laps making up the distance.