Bakersfield, Ca (April 21st, 2022) – As the ARCA Menards Series West invades Bakersfield’s, Kern County Raceway Park this weekend, a half mile banked oval nestled in the agricultural heartland of California, drivers all over the west have been preparing mind, body, and car. As much can be said for east coaster, Landen Lewis. Lewis has three ARCA RACING SERIES events under his belt, with a victory in his second race, the Duquoin State Fair 100, in September 2021, where he lead from green to checkers for the win. This will be his first start in the series for the 2022 season.
“My goals for this weekend are to learn as much as possible, have a good clean race and hope to bring home a top 5,” Landen said. His team keeps him on track using the U.S. Legend Cars International and INEX Cars on asphalt and dirt to hone his skills and has been victorious on both terrains.
As Landen focuses on many aspects of the race weekend, the roots of the series and racing in Bakersfield in general has been a topic that was touched. But why, what about the roots of the series and Bakersfield… Well he is under the mentorship of west coast racing Veteran, Ron Hornaday Jr. Hornaday, found a liking to, Landen and put him in a Team Hornaday Dirt Modified a few years back and was truly impressed. “So many parts of Landen I see in myself,” Hornaday said. The fondness goes both ways. “It’s pretty exciting to be able to race on the west coast in front of all of Ron’s fans,” commented Landen. “Ron has been such a huge part of my career I hope I will be able to make him proud.” Since his first run in a Team Hornaday Modified, Lewis has flown the team Hornaday banner.
It’s not a one man deal when it comes to, Team Hornaday Development. With Ron’s daughter, Candice at the helm, she takes this industry seriously. Building drivers in and around the business as well as the on track skills. We asked Landen to give us an insight into his working with Team Hornaday. “Hornaday Development and their team has helped not only on the track, with being able to attack a race better, working on my race strategy, and my feedback to my crew, they also help me be prepared with each car that I drive getting me ready for each race.” Landen continued, “ They also have a great team that I work with that has helped me off the track with my social media and marketing, they help me with my physical and mental training, and to just be overall prepared week in and week out.”
I asked Candice about Landen’s candor around the shop etc, as I have only been with him on a few occasions, but from what I have come to know of the 4th generation driver, his focus and humility are of his true character. “Landen is one of a kind, his willingness and eager to want to learn and help is second to none!” Candice continued, “ Landen gives 110% effort in everything he does weather it be behind the wheel, working on his car or helping others.” And this I can say has been seen in his assisting his Joe Ryan Racecars teammate, Carson Brown Racing and others on several occasions. “We have been working with Landen for a little over 4 years now and the amount of growth he has shown is unbelievable,” She said. “He is a very talented, funny, witty and has a huge heart. When looking for a “driver” you always look for that driver that has the eye of the tiger. Well Landen is one of the drivers that no matter what he sits in, no matter where it is, Landen always has the eye of the tiger. He reminds me so much of my dad, from his work ethic to when the green flag drops the kid gives you 110%. I have to say he is the real deal and one I am grateful for the opportunity to work with him.”
Ron and I spoke a few months ago, but I had to ask again, as I have titled Landen, ‘The Prince of the Restarts’, he has to be a keen listener to pick up what Hornaday puts down. “He goes out and gives 100% and races every lap like it’s the last lap. The kid is a sponge he absorbs every bit of information we give him.” Hornaday continued, “I am hard on him and he knows there’s no excuses because I have been there and done that. When I tell you the kid is the real deal…believe me he is the real deal! He caught my eye and that’s why I am here.”
But as we all know to well, it’s not just experience that gets you to the track week in and week out, nor a journey across the country such as this for an event. Landen has been able to land nation wide marketing partners. “The support has been amazing and I am so thankful to have these amazing people and their companies supporting me. Billy and Tanner Prince with 19th Green in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. Billy and Tanner go to most all my races and support me on and off the track.” Then there is Dave Reeves with Reeves Complete Auto Center Inc., a Santa Clarita Ca business located just south of Bakersfield. “Landen is unbelievably talented,” commented, Dave Reeves. “He has the potential to really make it in this business.” Landen’s list continued filled with gratitude. “I have to thank MMI Services, Inc. , Kevin Paterson with Rent Source, he has been a great help and has been able to come to a couple of my races. Blankenship Roofing is back again this year along with Touch of Glass, Quality Autobody & Collision. And of course My Dad, Mom and my entire family for their support and helping me chase my dreams. Ron, Candice and the entire Hornaday Development team. Joe Ryan, Billy Workman, Joey Coulter, and Austin Theriault. It’s pretty awesome to have all the support from such amazing people.”
The NAPA Auto Parts 150, “A Solute To The Oil & Gas Industry” will be held this, Saturday, April 23rd, and will air LIVE (8:15pm PT) on FloRacing and will have a delayed airing April 29th on USA Network.