By ARCA Menards Series
Pit strategy ultimately decided which Venturini Motorsports car would celebrate a victory in Friday’s General Tire 150 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
A caution for Scott Melton’s crash shortly before the halfway point brought Jesse Love and most of the field into the pit lane for fresh tires. Love’s teammate in Dean Thompson stayed out and managed to lead a few laps himself before making a stop during the next caution.
Despite making the most of the fresh rubber, Thompson could not find his way to the lead and could only watch as Love maintained control of the lead through a green-white-checkered attempt to claim his third consecutive victory on the 2023 ARCA Menards Series season.
“I just had a really good car,” Love said. “That made my job really easy. I was awful [in practice], and I didn’t do a lot of prep for this race beforehand because I’ve been racing so much these last nine days. I couldn’t quite rattle off a win, but it was great to get one here.”
The triumph for Love was a special one for Venturini, as the organization had never claimed a checkered flag at Charlotte prior to Friday evening.
Venturini has been close to visiting Charlotte’s Victory Lane several times since ARCA returned to the facility in 2018. Michael Self led a race-high 91 laps in the 2019 edition of the General Tire 150 before fading to fifth, while Corey Heim placed second in both 2021 and 2022.
Love recalled watching last year’s General Tire 150 from the spotter’s stand and how Venturini struggled to keep pace with the field despite Heim’s best efforts. He and his crew worked tirelessly to ensure they would have a strong car for Friday and was thrilled to see those efforts pay off.
“This means a lot,” Love said. “We struggled [at Charlotte] pretty bad last year, but Corey Heim did a great job running second. We did a lot of sim work and our engineer Monon [Rahman] does such a great job. He’s there late and works really hard, so it was really cool to get [Venturini’s] first win here.
“I’m not really sure if there’s anywhere else we haven’t won at yet.”
Now with three consecutive victories on his resume, Love has momentum on his side as the ARCA Menards Series prepares to embark on a busy summer schedule.
Two disappointing performances at Daytona International Raceway and Phoenix Raceway did little to deter Love’s confidence. He knew the cars prepared by Venturini would be strong enough to help him climb out of his deficit and eventually assert full control of the point standings.
While Love is elated to have three straight ARCA victories, he is not content with his performance and wants to keep adding to his win total over the next few months.
“I had lost for a long time for about two years,” Love said. “It was definitely disheartening, and you can question yourself when you get down like that. I’m trying to win as much as I can, and my wallpaper says, ‘tired of losing.’ I definitely still am even though we’re on a hot streak right now.”
Taylor Gray ended up in third after having to come from the rear of the field on two separate occasions, with 2015 ARCA Menards Series champion Grant Enfinger and Andy Jankowiak rounding out the top-five finishers.
Frankie Muniz, Andres Perez de Lara, Christian Rose, Connor Mosack and Jack Wood completed the Top 10.
The ARCA Menards Series will get a couple of weeks off before heading to Berlin Raceway on Saturday, June 17. The green flag is set to fly at 8 p.m. ET with FS1 providing coverage of the on-track action.