Jesse Love took advantage of a late-race restart to dash into the lead and put his Bill McAnally Racing No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry in Victory Lane at Irwindale Speedway on Saturday night in the ARCA Menards Series West NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
The win – before a sold-out crowd – marked the fourth career series victory win for the 16-year-old from Menlo Park, California and his second straight series win at Irwindale.
Love, who started sixth on the grid, worked his way to second by midway in the race and battled for the lead through the second half of the event – continually using the lower groove to try to get out front. He made the most of the opportunity, when a late-race caution set up a dash to the finish with four laps remaining.
“Sometimes you just got to have more heart,” Love said of finally succeeding in getting by the leader. “I’m so happy. It’s so awesome. I want to say thank you to everybody at Toyota and NAPA, and all of my family and friends. I’m so grateful.”
Love’s rookie teammate, Cole Moore, also had a strong race – finishing fifth in BMR’s No. 99 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry, after starting ninth. Amber Balcaen – making her series debut in BMR’s No. 19 Icon Technologies Unlimited Toyota Camry – had a top-10 run going, before her night ended in an incident about 30 laps from the finish.
With the win, Love moved to fourth in the championship standings, just two points out of the lead. Moore is third in the standings, one point out of first, and is second in rookie points.
The victory marked the 15th win by BMR in 29 regular season series races at Irwindale. Love, who also won last year in his first visit to Irwindale, is one of eight drivers who contributed to the domination by the team at the SoCal track.
The Irwindale race is slated to be televised on NBCSN on July 8 at 3 p.m. PT.
In addition to being the event sponsor for the Irwindale race, NAPA AUTO PARTS and its associates were involved in activation that included a sales program with the NAPA Power Premium Plus group and attendance by special guests from the NAPA Distribution Center in Los Angeles, along with a group of guest employees from BBB Industries. A VIP NAPA Guest Experience featured a pit tour and meet-and-greet with the BMR drivers.
Christina and Ryan Schank of Ryan Schank Racing – a 4-time champion in off-road dirt racing, who has always used NGK spark plugs – served as the NGK VIP guest crew member.
Activation at NAPA was coordinated by Derek Sasabuchi, District Operations Manager – with the son of a NAPA AUTO PARTS store owner in nearby Downey giving the command to start engines and NAPA customer Neff Avilo serving as the honorary starter, waving the green flag.
ARCA Menards Series West Event:
Race: NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 (Race 3 of 9) July 3, 2021
Location: Irwindale Speedway, Irwindale, Calif. (1/2-mile oval)
Television: NBCSN on July 8 at 3 p.m. PT
No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry
Hometown: Menlo Park, Calif.
Finished: 1st (Running, completed 150 of 150 laps)
Laps led: 6
2021 Series Stats:
Races: 3 starts, 1 win, 1 top five, 2 top 10s
Laps completed: 329/351
Laps led: 6
Series standings: 4th
No. 99 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry
Hometown: Granite Bay, Calif.
Finished: 5th (Running, completed 150 of 150 laps)
2021 Series Stats:
Races: 3 starts, 2 top fives, 2 top 10s
Laps completed: 349/351
Series standings: 3rd
Rookie standings: 2nd
No. 19 Icon Technologies Unlimited Toyota Camry
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Finished: 15th (Accident, completed 117 of 150 laps)
ARCA Menards Series West, July 31, 2021, Colorado Nat’l Speedway, Dacono, Colo. (3/8-mile oval)
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WOKING ON MY REDNECK!