Quiet Day Nets Love Eighth Place In Darlington Debut

Love

Jesse Love (2) battles Sheldon Creed Saturday at Darlington Raceway. (Jacob Seelman/Race Face Digital photo)

DARLINGTON, S.C. – An uneventful afternoon at the Track Too Tough to Tame left Jesse Love with an eighth-place finish in Saturday’s Crown Royal Purple Bag Project 200.

Love, who was making his debut at historic Darlington Raceway, comfortably earned points in both stages and ran among the top 10 all day at the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval.

After starting 12th via the rulebook due to a qualifying washout Friday evening, Love methodically picked his way forward to eighth by the end of the 147-lap race, battling Sheldon Creed and Riley Herbst late in the going in one of the more hotly contested scraps on-track.

Love was pleased with his team’s speed and effort, believing he had a shot at a top-five finish had there been another restart in the closing laps.

“The Richard Childress Racing team gave me a fast Whelen Chevrolet today at Darlington Raceway,” he said. “By the time we reached the competition caution on lap 20, I felt like I had a good grasp of the track. With this being my first time racing [at Darlington], it was a learning experience for all 200 miles.

“Every time we came to pit road, crew chief Danny Stockman made great adjustments and the pit crew gained positions,” Love added.” We ran inside the top-10 all day and I felt like we had a top-five Camaro when it was all said and done. Picking up stage points in both stages and finishing a solid eighth is exactly what this team needs to do as we build toward the summer and the playoffs.”

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Saturday’s race was Love’s seventh top-10 finish in 11 races this year, and he has an average finish of 10.3 at the one-third point of the Xfinity Series season.

The 19-year-old native of Menlo Park, Calif., who cut his teeth on short tracks in the Golden State and learned how to conserve his equipment from an early age, appreciated the driving style he needed to employ at The Lady in Black and believes he’ll be able to improve when he returns in late August.

“I’m very proud of everyone on this No. 2 team. I know when we come back in the fall, we can have a shot at winning,” noted Love. “I need to work on a few things with my driving style, but it is a lot of fun driving at this track and I look forward to coming back here later this season.”

Love maintained fourth place in the regular season standings, tied with Justin Allgaier, who won at Darlington by leading a dominant 119 of 147 laps.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series season continues Saturday, May 25 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway with the running of the BetMGM 300. Live coverage is slated for 1 p.m. ET on FOX, the Performance Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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About Jacob Seelman

Jacob Seelman is Motorsports Hotspot’s News Editor and Race Face Digital’s Director of Content, as well as a veteran of more than a decade in the racing industry as a professional, though he’s spent his entire life in the garage and pit area.