By: Ashley McCubbin
It’s not odd to see a driver try to tackle running all sides of the ARCA Menards Series schedule – national tour, East, and West – in the eye of gaining as much seat time as possible to learn. However, Jesse Love will be doing so in a unique way.
While he will defend the West Championship with Bill McAnally Racing, he will be running the East events and National tour with Venturini Motorsports.
“There’s definitely differences between the two teams and it’s definitely important from me to take the strengths from the Venturni side of things, and help my West program, and vice versa with the West program helping Venturini,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “That’s really important to me and something I’ll be doing the rest of my career. You can always develop and keep developing. I’ve had the opportunity to not only do that with those two teams, but every other team I’ve worked with in being so young and having done so many different aspects of racing. I’ve had the opportunity to learn a lot and be apart a lot of different organizations and meet a lot of great people.”
One of those people who has been instrumental thus far for Love is Bill McAnally, with not only his experience behind the wheel, but as a team owner for several years in the West Series.
“Bill is one of those people that always has my back and has helped me a lot,” Love expressed. “You see Bill help out a lot of great drivers, obviously the most recent being Derek and obviously he’s helped me a lot of this year and the year before. Obviously, I’ve had a great opportunity working with him and getting a championship there and hooking up with NAPA.
“NAPA and I have had a great relationship over the last two years and something I want to continue, and I think I can continue for awhile. You see NAPA leach on to some drivers and work with them and go all the way to Cup with them. So NAPA is one of those organizations that I value a lot and my partnership with them has been great over the last two years and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Being able to move up into the NASCAR National Tours has certainly crossed Love’s mind, amidst the other experience he is gaining. While recognizing at the age of 16 his options are limited due to the rules, he is hopeful to be behind the wheel of a Truck later this season.
“That’s something that I need to earn and pull my weight with Toyota, and that’s my job to earn that,” he commented. “I know that’s coming and I know we’ll get some later this year and I just have to make myself favourite and that’s on me. I’m really confident in that and looking forward to doing all that stuff. The Truck Series and Xfinity looks so cool to me and it’s cool when I get the chance to come and race against those guys whenever they come run the ARCA stuff at these bigger tracks; Zane will obviously be running this weekend’s race at Phoenix.
“Hopefully we’ll get to run a bunch of those races before I go full-time – that’s the plan and that’s what I hope to earn.”
For now, Love will get to see how he stacks up against some of the stars from the series with having both Zane Smith and Derek Kraus entered for Friday night’s race at Phoenix Raceway.
“I remember my first time running a bigger track race at Phoenix last year in the Spring and Lap 5, I drove around Zane Smith and I didn’t know what I was doing,” Love recalled. “That was the weirdest thing to me, but when you’re racing against all of those guys and learn how they manipulate the air – obviously Sam has gotten real good at it, other drivers as well. When you get to race against guys that are in a higher series and come back down for a race or two, it’s really cool, and I always get to learn some stuff from them and then go beat them.
“You’re right as well – you have to put the right impression for yourself to everyone else to put the right opportunities ahead of yourself.”