After starting from the pole, Jesse Love won the General Tire 200 from Talladega Superspeedway, leading the most laps. The win also marks Venturini Motorsports’ first win of the 2023 ARCA Menards Series main division.
Love’s teammate Gus Dean finished runner-up, giving Venturini a 1-2 finish. 2020 series champion Bret Holmes finished third at his home track, with Andres Perez De Lara finishing fourth in his first career superspeedway race. Sean Corr rounded out the top five.
As for the remainder of the top ten, Jack Wood finished sixth in the second Rev Racing entry, with Taylor Gray finishing seventh, in what was also his first career superspeedway race. Scott Melton, Frankie Muniz, and Jason White rounded out the top 10.
Original pole sitter Gray dropped to the rear prior to the green flag, putting the start in the hands of Love. He fired off from the lead early, holding it with relative ease throughout the first green flag run of the race. With most of the field running single-file, Love easily kept Perez de Lara and Amber Balcaen in tow.
The race stayed that way until the first caution, a single-car spin, taking out Daytona winner Greg Van Alst. After Balcaen pulled out of line from third due to a mechanical issue, the lead pack was stacked up. Van Alst took advantage of this, but was hooked by Melton, who was running inside the top five. Van Alst’s car hooked right into the outside wall, taking the 41-year-old out of the race prematurely. Balcaen took her Venturini Motorsports No. 15 to the garage with a mechanical failure.
After a lengthy caution period, the field took the green flag again, but the run wouldn’t last long, as a large crash began further back in the field shortly after the start-finish line, involving Tim Richmond, Hunter DeShautelle, Logan Misuraca, Jon Garrett and Jason Kitzmiller. Kitzmiller spun going up through the gears for the restart, and spun back into the field, initially collecting Garrett and Misuraca.
Others spun but sustained minimal damage. DeShautelle joined the wreck late, hitting the Kitzmiller car that had come to a rest from the earlier spin hard in the rear bumper. DeShautelle, Richmond, Misuraca, Garrett, and Kitzmiller were all taken out of the race.
After the race restarted again, it was a six-lap dash to the halfway break. The run was largely single-file and led by Rev Racing teammates Wood and Perez de Lara. During that stretch, Andy Jankowiak had a lengthy pitstop to repair damage from a downed tire, going multiple laps down in the process.
Perez de Lara led the field back to the green after the halfway caution and remained on the point until 12 laps to go, when Caleb Costner lost a tire in turn three, bringing out yet another caution. That green flag run was the longest of the race, and much of the field was again single-file throughout it.
The final restart of the race occurred with eight laps to go, with Love and Perez de Lara on the front row, with Love taking the lead with help from teammate Dean shortly after. Love remained at the fore of the field for the remainder of the race, as there were not enough cars to create a run sufficient enough to challenge Love.
“I got yelled at back at Daytona by the spotter Tyler Monn, telling me to stay level headed, that you don’t win races getting worked up,” Love told Fox Sports. “I couldn’t believe it was the white flag, I was still calm, he was doing such a great job making sure they couldn’t get a run.”
Next, ARCA heads to Kansas Speedway, as the series takes the track on Saturday, May 6. The green flag for that race is scheduled for 2 pm ET, and television coverage will be on Fox Sports 1.
About the author
Josh joined Frontstretch in 2023 and currently covers the ARCA Menards Series. Born and raised in Missouri, Josh has been watching motorsports since 2005. He currently is studying for a Mass Communication degree at Lindenwood University
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