Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Late-Race Caution at IRP Helps Jesse Love Snag Seventh Win of 2023 ARCA Season

Jesse Love scored his seventh ARCA Menards Series victory of the season at IRP, in large part a result of a late-race caution that triggered a restart. Photo Credit: Tyson Gifford, Racing America

Jesse Love is now up to seven wins during the 2023 ARCA Menards Series season, but in the closing laps of Friday’s Reese’s 200 at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, Luke Fenhaus looked like the driver heading toward victory lane.

Fenhaus had taken the lead from Love with 34 laps remaining, and he was walking away for the win. Then, a late race caution for an incident between Conner Jones and Christian Rose changed everything.

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The first-year driver, who was very much in the catbird seat, ended up being a proverbial sitting duck as Love launched his No. 20 Venturini Motorsports Toyota Camry into the inside lane heading into Turn 1 on the restart with 10 laps to go.

Love, who had been stellar on restarts all afternoon long, had the grip he needed, allowing the No. 20 to soar into the lead, without looking back.

Fenhaus would mount a little bit of a challenge in the closing laps, but would ultimately come up short by 0.357 sec. With the win, Love has now won more than half of the races this season.

A winner in the Slinger Nationals, Fenhaus would finish in the runner-up spot in the Reese’s 200, closing his deficit on ARCA Menards Series East points leader William Sawalich with just two races remaining in that eight-race title hunt.

Sean Hingorani overcame a wack of problems, including an accident at the mid-point of the event with Lavar Scott, to finish in third place, while William Sawalich finished in fourth, after hanging around the top three for the majority of the afternoon.

Lavar Scott, despite the major damage, would rebound for a top-five. Conner Jones came home sixth, despite causing the last caution with contact to Christian Rose. Greg Van Alst, Andres Perez de Lara, Toni Breidinger, and Christian Rose would complete the top-10.

Frankie Muniz, the second-place driver in points entering Friday, finished 11th, but was three laps off the pace, after a disappointing day for the Rette Jones Racing organization. Isaac Johnson and Christopher Martin, Jr. earned 12th and 18th-place finishes in their ARCA Menards Series debuts, respectively.

Leaving IRP, Love now has a 98-point advantage over second-place driver Frankie Muniz, with an intense battle for second brewing between him, Andres Perez de Lara, and Christian Rose.

In the ARCA Menards Series East, the gap has now regressed to only nine points between Sawalich and Hingorani, heading into the series’ final two events at Milwaukee and Bristol.

Race Results – ARCA Menards Series at IRP

PsCarDriverLapsDeltaStatusPointsB. Time
120Jesse Love200---Running4922.928
228Luke Fenhaus2000.357Running4323.257
315Sean Hingorani2001.584Running4222.944
418William Sawalich2001.921Running4123.007
56Lavar Scott2003.905Running3923.492
625Conner Jones2005.500Running3823.112
735Greg Van Alst2008.415Running3723.577
82Andres Perez de Lara1991 lapRunning3623.614
955Toni Breidinger1991 lapRunning3523.321
1032Christian Rose1973 lapsRunning3423.455
1130Frankie Muniz1973 lapsRunning3323.751
1293Issac Johnson1955 lapsRunning3223.982
1311Zachary Tinkle1937 lapsRunning3124.038
1466Jon Garrett1937 lapsRunning3024.229
1512D.L. Wilson19010 lapsRunning2924.400
1631Rita Goulet18317 lapsRunning2825.23
1706A.J. Moyer17228 lapsRunning2724.802
1895Christopher Martin Jr.14258 lapsRunning2624.319
1998Dale Shearer60140 lapsOut2527.649
2001Brayton Laster40160 lapsOut2425.313
2148Brad Smith34166 lapsOut2326.097
2210Tim Monroe30170 lapsOut2225.057
230Nate Moeller23177 lapsOut2126.213
2469Mike Basham11189 lapsOut2024.898
2503Casey Carden0200 lapsOut190
Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is an award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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