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Jesse Love Begins Rookie Campaign with Xfinity Series Pole at Daytona

In his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut, Jesse Love will lead the field to green, winning the pole in the No. 2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Photo Credit: Craig White, TobyChristie.com

Making his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut for Richard Childress Racing, Jesse Love is set to lead the field to the green flag, winning the pole for Saturday’s United Rentals 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

Love, a two-time champion of the ARCA Menards Series West and more recently, the defending champion of the ARCA Menards Series, will put his No. 2 Whelen Chevrolet Camaro at the head of the grid for Saturday’s 120-lap contest.

The Menlo Park, California-native utilized the speed of the ECR powerplant under the hood to narrowly beat out teammate Austin Hill for the pole, posting a time of 49.702 seconds (181.079mph) to grab the top spot by three one-thousandths of a second.

Hill, who has put his No. 21 Chevrolet on the pole for each of the last four superspeedway events in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, will have to settle for a second-place effort.

AJ Allmendinger, making his return to full-time competition in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, posted the third-quickest time in qualifying on Saturday, with Parker Kligerman and Shane van Gisbergen rounding out the top five for Kaulig Racing.

Van Gisbergen, a native of Auckland, New Zealand, was approved to compete in the Xfinity Series season-opener on Saturday, despite being involved in an early accident during Friday’s ARCA Menards Series event at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

Justin Allgaier clocked in sixth place in the No. 7 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, while Jeremy Clements tucked into seventh. Both Allgaier and Clements are utilizing powerplants from Hendrick Engines this weekend at Daytona.

John Hunter Nemechek was the first non-Chevrolet in qualifying on Saturday, posting the eighth-quickest time, while Parker Retlzaff and Anthony Alfredo completed the top-10 for Jordan Anderson Racing and Our Motorsports, respectively.

In total, nine of the top-10 in the starting order for Saturday’s event are from the Chevrolet camp, while seven of them are utilizing ECR Engines, the powerplant that has been dominant in Xfinity Series qualifying at superspeedways for quite some time.

Riley Herbst was the highest-qualifying Ford Mustang in the field, posting the 11th-quickest lap time, while his teammate Cole Custer, the defending champion of the NASCAR Xfinity Series was 17th.

Patrick Emerling, who moves from co-owning Emerling-Gase Motorsports to joining forces with SS-GreenLight Racing, recorded an impressive 13th-place run in the No. 07 Chevrolet Camaro.

Other notable drivers outside the top-10 included Sammy Smith (12th), Sheldon Creed (14th), Sam Mayer (15th), Jeb Burton (16th), Daniel Suarez (18th). Ryan Truex (20th), Josh Williams (21st), Brandon Jones (22nd), and Daniel Dye (26th).

Starting 28th, Hailie Deegan will make her second-ever start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the No. 15 Ford Mustang. Similarly, Frankie Muniz will make his series debut on Saturday, driving the No. 35 Ford Performance Mustang for Joey Gase Motorsports.

Joey Gase (#53, Joey Gase Motorsports), Caesar Bacarella (#45, Alpha Prime Racing), Dawson Cram (#4, JD Motorsports), CJ McLaughlin (#38, RSS Racing), Kyle Sieg (#28, RSS Racing), and Stanton Barrett (#74, Mike Harmon Racing) all failed to qualify for Saturday’s 300-mile event at Daytona.

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