AVONDALE, Ariz. – The ARCA Menards Series West held their season finale at Phoenix Raceway with three rookies tied in the Bounty Rookie of the Year standings with Joey Iest, Cole Moore and Jake Drew. After 100 laps in the Arizona Lottery 100, it was Moore claiming the rookie title by one spot over Drew.
“It’s so tight,” said Moore. “And if one of those guys fail inspection, I could be the champion. I got my suit on still, I’m ready to pop some champagne. I’m praying to the tech gods.”
While the championship battle was under full force behind him, the rookie fight was smooth sailing for Moore. The 34-entry field made for wild restarts mid-pack, but Moore stayed smart and focused on gathering as many points as possible, considering he was also in the fight for the championship.
“I was so nervous coming into this race,” Moore shared with Kickin’ the Tires. “I was not good at this race track (earlier this year), and we managed to go out there and beat everyone in the West Series. For me just overcoming that and being able to drive the way I did, it’s a win. I wish we won the championship, but super happy with Rookie of the Year honors.”
With three top fives in the first four races, the season started strong for Moore. He continued that strength with top-10 results in all but one race after that. The consistency proved a great result for the first year driver with a 10th place run at Phoenix, the highest West Series regular.
“It was so fun,” Moore stated about the restarts. “The first time I came here, I wasn’t very aggressive, just trying to figure out the track. Today, I was super aggressive on the restarts, diving to the bottom, and going into (Turn) 1, just going all the way to the bottom and making passes. This race track, once you’re comfortable, is super fun.
“Really, if I take anything away, it’s getting comfortable on these mile tracks. If you want to keep moving up in the sport, you got to get used to that air and the higher speeds. People underestimate how tricky that can be.”
Drew finished second in the rookie standings, one point behind. In third was Iest, the winner at 2021 NAPA Auto Parts Colorado 150 at Colorado National Speedway, seven points off the rookie title. As for Moore, his return to the ARCA West Series is still unknown at this time.
“Unclear. I want to keep racing and having fun and being out here. I love it.”