Gracie Trotter made history in the ARCA Menards West Series by becoming the first woman to win a race yesterday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring. While there’s been some disagreement about what qualifies as a series distinction, she is still only the second woman to win in the series’ history.
The confusion comes down largely to the fact that the ARCA Menards West Series was formerly named the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West after NASCAR bought out ARCA. The K&N Pro Series West was absorbed by the ARCA Racing Series ahead of the 2020 season.
(If you aren’t familiar with the format here, ARCA’s main schedule is composed of 20 races. Some of those races are included in the regional East or West championships. The regional series often involve six to eight races and have their own champion separate from the overall ARCA Menards Series. Basically, they’re three separate championships that have a similar name and occasionally share a race track.)
Some fans and series personnel regard ARCA Menards West as its own new series simply due to the fact that it has a different name. In that case, Trotter is the first woman to win in the series. Others see it as a continuation of the K&N West Series, in which case Trotter would be the second woman to win in the series after Hailie Deegan’s three wins in 2018-19. In either case, it’s a massive accomplishment for both Trotter and for female racers.
19-year-old Trotter has had a brief but successful career so far. Having raced karts since she was eight, Trotter was selected for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity combine in 2018 before being selected as a driver in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for 2019. Trotter made her move up to ARCA the following year.
Racing for Bill McAnally Racing, Trotter competes primarily in the ARCA Menards Series West but has also contested races in the ARCA Menards Series and the ARCA Menards Series East.
At the moment, Trotter sits in third overall in the ARCA Menards Series West championship after a successful season. She started off her season at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where she finished fourth. With the exception of two seventh-place finishes, Trotter has finished within the top five at every event.
She’s been slightly less successful in the East series and in the overall ARCA series (where she’s scored a 16th in the first and a 22nd, a ninth, and a 12th in the latter), but she’s still in the initial stages of her career. Trotter still has a lot to learn when it comes to racing, but the fact that she’s adapted to active competition bodes well for her future.