Jesse Love scored his third consecutive win at Irwindale Speedway in the ARCA Menards Series West with a victory Saturday night in the NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 presented by Sunrise Ford.
The 16-year-old defending series champion put the Bill McAnally Racing No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry into the lead on Lap 90 and maintained command to the finish, pulling away in a green-white-checkered finish that extended the race to 153 laps.
Love led the way among BMR drivers – with Cole Moore finishing sixth in the No. 99 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry and Amber Balcaen 11th in the No. 19 Icon Technologies Unlimited Toyota Camry.
Love attributed his success at Irwindale to his experience at the track.
“I don’t know if it’s easy as much as it is that I’ve been running this track for a long time.” he said. “I’ve been here in Super Lates and ARCA cars. My first real shot with Toyota Racing was here in the combine.”
Love dedicated his win to Mike Sharp, father of his crew chief, Travis Sharp. “This one’s for him,” Love said, in reference to health issues he is battling. “It makes me really happy that we were able to get one for him.”
Love started second on the grid and ran third in the opening laps, before charging into second on Lap 45. He made his move for the lead following the midway break and steadily opened up a comfortable lead.
Moore started sixth and battled for a top-five spot throughout the race, before coming home sixth. Balcaen, in only her second series race, started 11th and ran a solid race throughout.
Love’s victory marks the 16th win for BMR in 30 regular season series races at the state-of-the-art Southern California venue that opened in 1999. Love joins with Brendan Gaughan and Todd Gilliland, who also registered three straight series wins at Irwindale in BMR’s iconic NAPA-sponsored No. 16.
With his win, he extended his lead in the championship standings to 11 points. Moore is second in the standings and leads the chase for this year’s Rookie of the Year title.
NAPA AUTO PARTS served as an event sponsor for the Irwindale race – with Derek Sasabuchi, the District Sales Manager from the NAPA Distribution Center in Los Angeles, having a group of special guests from NAPA LA in attendance on Saturday.
David Simms, store owner of NAPA AUTO PARTS – Farm and Supply, was honored as the NGK VIP Guest Crew Member for the event.
The Irwindale race is slated to be televised on NBCSN on Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. PT.
ARCA Menards Series West Event:
Race: NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 presented by Sunrise Ford (Race 5 of 9) Aug. 21, 2021
Location: Irwindale Speedway, Irwindale, Calif. (1/2-mile oval)
Television: NBCSN on Aug. 29 at 1:30 p.m. PT
No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry
Hometown: Menlo Park, Calif.
Finished: 1st (Running, completed 153 of 153 laps)
Laps led: 63
2021 Series Stats:
Races: 5 starts, 2 wins, 3 top fives, 4 top 10s
Laps completed: 632/654
Series standings: 1st
No. 99 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry
Hometown: Granite Bay, Calif.
Finished: 6th (Running, completed 153 of 153 laps)
2021 Series Stats:
Races: 5 starts, 3 top fives, 4 top 10s
Laps completed: 652/654
Series standings: 2nd
Rookie standings: 1st
No. 19 Icon Technologies Unlimited Toyota Camry
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Finished: 11th (Running, completed 148 of 153 laps)
Career series starts: 2
Best series finish: 11th – Irwindale (8/21/21)
ARCA Menards Series West
Portland 112, Sept. 11, 2021, Portland Int’l Raceway, Portland, Ore. (1.967-mile road course)
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!