FONTANA, Calif. – Sunrise Ford Racing and team owner Bob Bruncati will field a mix of new and familiar faces in the ARCA Menards Series West this season, with a two-car attack set to chase the series title.
West Coast aces Trevor Huddleston and Blaine Perkins will share the driving duties of the team’s pair of Ford Fusions, with Huddleston returning for his third-straight year with the team and Perkins making his comeback to the West ranks after a three-year absence.
Huddleston will drive Bruncati’s flagship No. 6 Ford, while Perkins will pilot the No. 9 Ford that Huddleston drove to two victories last season.
From Agoura Hills, Calif., Huddleston is no stranger to success on the West Coast, having earned four NASCAR Whelen All American Series California state championships and three Irwindale Speedway late model titles in addition to his first two ARCA West victories, earned in 2019 under Bruncati’s watch.
The 23-year-old Huddleston finished fourth in points last season and, as the highest-ranked driver from the 2019 standings with a confirmed ride, feels he is poised to take the next step and challenge for his first West Series championship.
“First off, this is a big year for me and I can’t complain at all with where I’m at,” Huddleston told SPEED SPORT. “It’s an awesome team to be involved with. All the guys in the shop and Bob and Maureen Bruncati are already working hard to give us everything we need to be successful. It’s a hard world in racing and to have people like them in your corner … it’s just an honor to be part of their team.
“Experience, I think, is everything in this sport. Seat time in race cars is a major key to success,” Huddleston continued. “I don’t think there’s ever such a thing as too much seat time. Being able to run some of the tracks that we’ve already run (in the past) will definitely give us a leg up (on other teams), but anyone can catch up and we’ve always got to be on our game if we want to succeed this year.”
Perkins had a breakout year last year in the Golden State, winning both the Irwindale Speedway and Kern County Raceway Park track championships en route to his maiden NASCAR Whelen All-American Series California state title.
The 19-year-old college sophomore ran full seasons in the West Series in both 2016 and ’17 for car owner Steve Portenga and believes that past experience will help him slot into Bruncati’s lineup fairly easily, with little rust to worry about as he chases his first win in the division.
“This was kind of a last second deal, but it’s something we’re really excited about,” said Perkins. “We’ve been keeping in touch with everybody in the series and seeing what spots were open. Obviously there’s been a lot of driver changes this year going into the series, which opened some possibilities for us.
“About three weeks ago, we called up Bob and were ready to see if we could make a deal with him, and thankfully all the pieces worked out and fell into place,” he added. “I’m just really excited to run with Bob and be teammates with Trevor, who I’ve raced with for a long time now … ever since the Bandolero days when I started racing on ovals. I think it will be a good fit and we’re excited for this year.”
Huddleston will work with Bruncati crew chief Bill Sedgwick, while Perkins will have the guidance of Jeff Schrader from atop the pit box throughout the ARCA Menards West season.
Both are combos that Huddleston feels will be among the best that the series has to offer across the 10-race schedule.
“I think, honestly, that’s what’s really cool about the lineup you’re going to see this year … is that Blaine and I, we’re both pretty primary (drivers),” Huddleston noted. “Bob and Maureen focus as much as they can on the both of us, and that can only lead to success.
“Having Jeff Schrader with Blaine and me with Bill, it’s going to be a good year. I really feel that.”