For the seventh time in the 2023 ARCA Menards Series season, Jesse Love took the checkered flag, winning the Reese’s 200 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park Friday evening (Aug. 11).
Love passed Luke Fenhaus on a late-race restart and held him and the rest of the field off for victory at the 0.686-mile race track.
“I think I did a great job at saving my stuff, but I think it came back to bite me when the No. 28 came by me,” Love told FOX Sports’ Jamie Howe. “I thought he was scrubbing his tires really hard under yellow, with how hot they were, I let mine cool down, and it paid dividends.”
Fenhaus finished second, just missing out on his second national series win in as many starts. Sean Hingorani was able to rebound from an early race spin to finish third, William Sawalich finished fourth and Lavar Scott was fifth.
“Just got a bad restart looking at the replay,” Fenhaus told FOX Sports 1. “I didn’t time it that good, got a bad jump and he beat me into one, and it was pretty much game over from there.”
It didn’t take long for Love to take the lead, as he cleared outside pole-sitter Sawalich into turns 1 and 2 on the opening lap, and held that lead for the first green flag run of the event. It was far from an uncontested lead, as Sawalich kept Love in check. The pair, who have had run-ins a few times this season, ran side-by-side for a handful of laps, though Love eventually prevailed, keeping the lead.
That changed on lap 57, however, when Sawalich got around Love, largely in part due to heavy lapped traffic. Sawalich worked to the high side of Love, the dominant lane all race long, passing him for the lead. Shortly afterward, Sawalich made contact with the lapped car of Zachary Tinkle, spinning him out, and damaging the front end of his own No. 18 Toyota in the process.
The spin resulted in the first yellow of the event and allowed Love to retake the lead.
Also of note during the first 60-lap race was the climb by Fenhaus. The Iowa Speedway winner had to start in the rear of the field due to a post-qualifying issue, but marched inside the top five in the opening green flag run.
On the lap 68 restart, Love duplicated the opening act of the race, taking the lead away from Sawalich through turns 1 and 2. The yellow would come out a few laps later, however, due to contact between Scott and Hingorani who were battling hard for fourth place. Hingorani got loose underneath Scott, spinning the Rev Racing driver into the outside wall.
Both drivers were able to continue.
When the field restarted again on lap 80, Love retained the lead, but the biggest change was for second, as Fenhaus got around Sawalich. From that point until the halfway break 20 laps later, no major changes occurred, as Love brought the field into the scheduled caution period.
Love once again retained the lead to open the second half of the race, largely in part to Fenhaus not going in the restart zone, appearing to miss a shift. Hinogani was able to get around Fenhaus and move to second as a result. That move proved to be a big one, as Hingorani caught Love about 15 laps later, passing him for the lead.
The 16-year-old Hingorani was able to hold the lead from Love for about 20 laps, but after making a nice slide job move on the exit of turn four, Love gained the lead back on lap 138.
Love was able to hold that lead for nearly 30 laps, but Fenhaus caught him and made quick work of him on the bottom side of the race track. The driver of the No. 28 pulled off a successful slide job on the main division championship leader, passing him for the lead.
Just as it looked like Fenhaus was going to sail to an easy victory, Jones made contact with Rose, who was a lap down, spinning him out, and bringing out a late race caution. Following the race on pit road, FOX Sports cameras caught Rose and Jones in the midst of a heated discussion, with Rose being pushed away from Jones by a crew member.
For the second time in the event, Fenhaus didn’t get the restart he needed, surrendering the lead to Love, who never looked back, taking the checkered flag at IRP.
Next week is a busy one for ARCA, as there will be two main division races in one weekend.
On Friday, the series heads to Watkins Glen International for the General Tire 100. Two days later, the series heads to its first dirt event of the year, at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, for the Dutch Boy 100. Both races will be televised on FOX Sports 1.
Additionally, ARCA Menards Series West will be sandwiched in between the two on Saturday. The regulars of the left coast will head to Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. for the NAPA Auto Parts ARCA 150.
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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