Trotter Makes History With ARCA Win At Vegas
Gracie Trotter made history on Saturday by winning the General Tire 150 at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and becoming the first female winner of an ARCA Racing sanctioned event.
In just her eighth start in the ARCA Menards Series West, the 19-year-old series rookie from Denver, N.C., made a three-wide pass for the lead in her No. 99 ENEOS Toyota Camry and charged ahead to lead a 1-2-3 finish for Bill McAnally Racing’s rookie drivers. Giovanni Scelzi was second in the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS / Curb Record Toyota Camry, followed by Jesse Love in the No. 19 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry.
“I kind of got a little lucky there,” Trotter said of her pass for the lead. “The two front cars were battling side by side. I took it three-wide, a little sketchy at first, but I made it stick.”
Trotter, who started ninth on the grid, steadily worked her way forward and made her dive for the lead on Lap 54. She went on to lead 95 of the 150 laps.
“Our ENEOS Toyota was perfect,” she said. “It just took off for me. They kept telling me to back it down. I told them I am backed down. I don’t think I could go any slower. The car wasn’t tight or loose one bit. It just flowed through the corner really good.”
Trotter expressed her appreciation to everyone for their support in getting her first win.
“I can’t thank Bill McAnally enough, Toyota Racing Development, Jack Irving – all those guys,” she said. “I’m at a loss for words right now. My first year in ARCA, out West, far from home – it just really means a lot to me.”
She acknowledged her car had been a little tight earlier in the day, but credited crew chief Roger Bracken with “working his magic” to get the car dialed in.
Holley Hollan, in a fourth BMR Toyota, appeared headed for a possible career-best podium finish, but was slowed by a flat tire with less than 15 laps remaining and had to settle for a ninth-place finish in her No. 50 JBL/NAPA Filters/NAPA Belts & Hoses Toyota Camry.
Scelzi, meanwhile, congratulated Trotter and talked about his career-best series finish – which topped three previous finishes of third this year.
“It’s awesome for Gracie to get her first win today,” he said. “That’s pretty cool.”
“I knew brakes were going to be a problem today,” said Scelzi, an 18-year-old from Fresno, Calif. “I pushed too hard early and on that Lap 50 caution I had no brakes. At that point I was just worried about losing them again. I didn’t ride at the right time and didn’t push at the right time. Especially when it’s hot like that, guys were blowing tires. It was a race to save your stuff. She did a great job and had the best race car.
“It’s awesome for BMR to finish 1-2-3,” he said. “I think that’s our first this year. For NAPA and Toyota, it’s cool to have all our hard work pay off.”
Love – a 15-year-old from Menlo Park, Calif. – won his third pole award of the season in qualifying and led the first 33 laps of the race. He got shuffled back by Trotter, however, and then diced with her for the lead later in the race.
“First off, congratulations to the team,” he said. “1-2-3 is a pretty big deal. It’s super cool for Bill. He’s done a great job managing the team and getting everybody faster.
“We got beat today,” Love said. “We’ll get better and come back next time better.”
He speculated he may have been slowed by engine issues that developed throughout the race.
Nevertheless, Love was able to extend his lead in the championship standings to 15 points – with his top competition running into problems of their own. In eight starts this season, Love has seven podium finishes – along with a fourth-place finish.
Trotter remains third in the point standings – 30 points out of first and 15 markers behind second. She has top-five finishes in all six short track events this season. In addition to her role at BMR, Trotter also drives for Rev Racing as part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. She recently won her first Late Model race at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina.
Scelzi’s runner-up finish propelled him to fourth in the standings. He is 43 points out of the lead and 13 behind Trotter.
Hollan, who is making the transition this year from open-wheel racing on dirt to competing in stock cars on asphalt, is seventh in the standings.
The previous best finish by a female driver in the 68-year history of ARCA Racing was second, which Trotter matched earlier this season. The East and West divisions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series evolved this year to become the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West.
NAPA AUTO PARTS was represented at the race, with involvement from the NAPA Distribution Center in Las Vegas and NGK. The event also featured a VIP guest crew member.
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