After losing out on the last two superspeedway victories, Venturini Motorsports has returned to form in the ARCA Menards Series, scoring a 1-2 finish in Saturday’s General Tire 200 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Jesse Love, the team’s only driver running for the championship in the ARCA Menards Series this year, put his No. 20 Yahoo! Toyota Camry in victory lane at the 2.66-mile facility, after a strong final restart.
The 18-year-old driver, making only his second start on a superspeedway in the ARCA Menards Series, led a race-high 35 laps, and reclaimed the top spot from Andres Perez de Lara with eight laps to go, thanks to a strong push from teammate Gus Dean.
From there, the two-time ARCA Menards Series West champion held off his teammate in the No. 25 Toyota Camry, as well as a slew of other drivers in the lead pack, to score his third victory in the series, and his first on a track larger than one mile.
Assisting Love in capturing the win in the General Tire 200, was the low car count at the conclusion of the event, as only 16 cars finished the race on the lead lap, some of which weren’t able to keep pace with the lead pack.
In the closing laps of the race, the field essentially split in half, leaving only eight cars in the lead draft, making it more difficult to have run, and make passes while in the draft. On the final lap of the race, Dean attempted to make an outside move entering turn three, but was unable to get the help needed to get around the No. 20.
Dean would score a runner-up finish in Saturday’s event, his best finish since joining Venturini Motorsports for a part-time schedule at the start of last season.
Making a one-off return to the ARCA Menards Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular Bret Holmes finished third at his home track, while first-year driver Andres Perez de Lara came home fourth in his third career start.
Despite nearly losing the draft coming to the white flag, Sean Corr finished inside the top five, driving the No. 8 Chevrolet SS for Empire Racing. Jack Wood, Taylor Gray, Scott Melton, Frankie Muniz, and Jason White completed the top-10.
The biggest accident of the afternoon came at lap 24 when a missed shift by Jason Kitzmiller triggered an eight-car accident on the restart, which collected Mandy Chick, Logan Misuraca, Jon Garrett, Tim Richmond, and others.
Leaving Talladega, the third of 20 races on the ARCA Menards Series schedule in 2023, Frankie Muniz holds a three-point lead over Talladega winner Jesse Love, as the series heads to its first intermediate track on the year at Kansas.
After crashing early in the General Tire 200, finishing 32nd, Greg Van Alst falls to third place in points, 13 points back of Muniz. Jack Wood and Tony Cosentino complete the top five in point standings.
Andres Perez de Lara, Sean Corr, Christian Rose, Toni Breidinger, and Jason White round out the top-10 in ARCA Menards Series points.
Race Results: ARCA Menards Series General Tire 200 at Talladega
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