BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Taylor Gray entered this weekend’s ARCA Menards Series West doubleheader making his third and fourth starts in the division.
He had never raced at All American Speedway or at Kern County Raceway Park.
The final results represented much more than beginner’s luck.
A couple days after leading 116 laps of Friday night’s race in Roseville, Calif., and earning a top-10 finish, the 15-year-old from Artesia, N.M., won Sunday’s NAPA ENEOS 125 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame at the half-mile oval.
“Every race I go, I set myself to a high standard of winning,” said Gray after leading a race-high 72 laps Sunday and landing the No. 17 Ford Performance Ford in Victory Lane for his first ARCA Menards Series West victory. “That’s the goal at the end of the day. If you not winning, then you gotta work towards it.
“At the end of the day, all you have is how many wins you have in your results.”
He now has one of those after four West Series starts for DGR-Crosley.
Gray’s age limited the amount of ARCA-sanctioned races he could run in 2020. He also ran 12 ARCA Menards Series races, notching eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10 finishes, and picked up a pair of top-fives and five top-10s in five ARCA Menards Series East starts.
Mason Diaz, who led 23 laps Sunday, finished second.
Blaine Perkins finished third ahead of his Sunrise Ford teammate Trevor Huddleston in fourth. Perkins entered the race 17 points behind championship leader Jesse Love, and his third-place run was good enough to draw within 14 points of Love heading into the Nov. 7 season finale at Arizona’s Phoenix Raceway.
“We did what we had to do,” said Perkins. “We cut into the points lead this weekend. So it’s definitely not out of (our) hopes yet, and who knows?
“There’s going to be a lot of cars at Phoenix, and anything can happen.”
Gracie Trotter finished fifth at Kern County after a late-race incident with her Bill McAnally Racing teammate Love. The championship point leader salvaged an eighth-place finish behind Kyle Keller and Todd Souza.
Gio Scelzi, who picked up his first ARCA Menards win Friday at All American and battled issues with his car throughout much of Sunday’s race, finished ninth at Kern County. Jack Wood rounded out the top 10.