Race Weekend Central

Jesse Love Discusses ARCA Success, Thoughts on Start of Truck Career

It’s been an exciting 2023 for 18-year-old Jesse Love.

After winning two ARCA Menards Series races in part-time campaigns between 2020 and 2022 – in addition to back-to-back ARCA West championships in 2020 and 2021 – Love has won three ARCA races in a row this season, with dominating performances at Talladega Superspeedway, Kansas Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Running full-time for Venturini Motorsports as the current ARCA points leader, Love will be seeking four in a row at Berlin Raceway on Saturday (June 17).

As one can imagine, Love has been satisfied with his and the No. 20 team’s performance this season.

“Everybody overall is just doing a good job,” Love said. “I’m giving it all I got, and I’ve found that when you have a lot of swagger around you, it kind of just makes it so much easier. So, right now, it looks easy – it’s not – but it kind of feels like that right now.

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Love will be going for his fourth straight ARCA win this weekend. While not a certainty, he likes his team’s chances.

“[Feel] pretty good,” Love said. “I mean, if we didn’t get wrecked by our teammate at Phoenix, we’d be four in a row. Berlin’s a place that I’ve finished third at in the last few years, so, not great. But I think that, you know, I’d have to really suck to get it wrong for a third time in a row.

“Hopefully we can pull pieces of the pie together there, it’s a tricky place; it’s not like anywhere else in the world. Just need to kind of accept that and understand that I’m about to drive a lot different than I have everywhere else. I think it’s not our best racetrack, but I think that we have a good shot at it.”

Also exciting for Love is that he got to make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut with TRICON Garage at World Wide Technology Raceway on June 3. It was his first of three races for the team, with his remaining races scheduled at Kansas Speedway in September and Phoenix Raceway in November.

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Before his Truck debut, I had the chance to sit down with Love and discuss his thoughts leading up to his debut on June 2.

Love hadn’t raced at Gateway since ARCA last stopped there in 2020, but he didn’t view that as a concern heading into the weekend.

“[There’s] not really [a learning curve],” Love said. “You know, obviously I run a lot of dirt races – ran one last night – and we don’t get three laps until qualifying to figure it out. So, it’s just another racetrack. Just another race. That’s all we’re doing, is enjoying racing.

“So, I’m just going to go get a feel for it, hopefully it shouldn’t take too long. And by qualifying we can be a contender for the pole, and after that, it’s just about staying in the top five the rest of the day, being in position at the end and keeping your truck clean, safe and free from harm. And if we can do all that stuff, we should have a shot.”

Love was asked what would be considered a good Truck debut.

“I think a top five is good,” Love said. “I think a top eight is the threshold of what I’d consider successful.

“So, there’s a lot of different factors that can play into your result. Sometimes your result doesn’t always show your performance, but I don’t really get caught up in the physician side of things. I think that if I just do my job to the best of my abilities, that there’s no reason I can’t compete for the win.”

Although originally scheduled to compete in TRICON Garage’s part-time No. 1 truck, Love was moved to the No. 11 truck at Gateway after current points leader Corey Heim was unable to compete due to an illness. In his place, Love scored a ninth-place finish in his Truck debut.

About the author

Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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