ANTHEM, Ariz. – There is a moment in most everyone’s life that can be pointed to years later as leading to a significant change. For Bill McAnally, the owner of Bill McAnally Racing, that moment occurred in 1998.
“In 1998 I was about ready to hang it up when I had a driver offer to bring some funding to help pay the bills so we could do things right and that changed my life,” McAnally recalled. “I put Gary Smith in the car, he was four-time Winston West champion Roy Smith’s son.
“I was sitting on the wall at California Speedway and told Gary Smith this was going to be my last race,” McAnally recalled. “After the race his dad came and talked to me and said he would be interested in my preparing the equipment. We did some testing and that worked out and very shortly after we won a race at Portland Speedway.”
Instead of dropping out of racing, McAnally was able to continue that year and Gary Smith won a race in his car. Finishing third in the standings was an accomplishment as Kevin Harvick won the title. Being Canadian, Smith could only make a limited number of races, so in 1999 Sean Woodside drove his car and they won the Winston West title that year. During that time, McAnally was able to quit his job at a utility company and turn racing from a hobby into a business and Bill McAnally Racing was born.
McAnally won the title the following two years with Brendan Gaughan driving. He now has seven series championships to his credit as an owner. For 2020 the series has been renamed the ARCA Menards West Series and one stop will be at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., which happens to be the track promoted by McAnally.
It all began at age 20 when McAnally got into racing by coincidence when he had the task of recording sound levels at All American and giving out warnings for violations. He thought it was strange to build such beautiful equipment and then destroy it, which summarizes his thoughts on racing at that time.
Being around the track led to McAnally building a bomber along with Chris Alexander in 1987 and finished seventh in the B main his first attempt at driving a race car. The duo would alternate driving each race and in 1988 decided to build their own street stocks.
McAnally won a dozen races in the two years of street stock racing before moving to a pro stock in 1990, which was the NASCAR premier weekly series division at that time. It was that year that McAnally established a relationship with NAPA. They have worked together for 30 years.
The following two years he raced his pro stock at All American as well as doing some touring, and in 1992 bought a 25-year-old car and started his first Winston West race at Anderson. A sour engine led to a less than stellar debut in the series, which he eventually raced full time.
Bill McAnally Racing has 99 wins, with victories coming at tracks as close as All American and as far away as New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He is currently fielding four teams for the ARCA Menards West tour and will field a full-time team in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series this year.
McAnally described his business as, “sort of University of BMR. We prepare them not only for on the track and what they need to learn to be there at the end of a race, we also train them to speak with the media, to work with sponsors, and we work with drivers to prepare them for the next step.”
NAPA has been a major part of the race team’s growth. McAnally was buying NAPA parts for his cars and built a relationship with one store owner. That owner started going to races in 1989 and paved the way towards what has become a 30-year relationship.
In 2004 McAnally opened an auto repair shop and eventually opened a second location that services and repairs cars using NAPA parts. Promoting, first races at other tracks, and now being promoter of All American Speedway, adds to McAnally’s busy schedule.
McAnally spearheaded a renovation project to All American Speedway in 2007 and the following year promoted a K&N race at that track and has promoted NASCAR races since. His first promotion was in Roseburg, Ore., in 2002.
When the track became available, his long history of racing at All American Speedway motivated him to take over the track at a time when closure was being rumored. His first event had 29 cars total and he has built that number up to more than 80 entries.
The lease has 13 years remaining and the schedule is limited to 13 events per year, keeping the neighborhood in mind as the quarter-mile paved oval is adjacent to an elementary school and residential area.
McAnally notes he has a lot of great people on his staff and he works to benefit the area’s youth, working with schools and offering auto classes at his Bill McAnally Racing shop as high schools in the area have dropped that type of education. From the shop to the race track, he is offering students the opportunity to learn in a hands-on situation.
McAnally plans to, “Keep working on building the race program, be an asset to our community, be a good neighbor, utilize the track to educate our youth, and do everything we can to keep racing alive in Roseville.”
All that Bill McAnally Racing has accomplished goes back to a chance conversation in 1998 sitting on the wall at California Speedway. McAnally was offered the opportunity then and he has made the most of it to the benefit of many people.