By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor
Richard Childress Racing has signed 2023 ARCA Menards Series champion Jesse Love to take over the No. 2 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Camaro SS for the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
Love replaces the outgoing NASCAR Playoffs driver Sheldon Creed. In 48 career ARCA starts the Menlo Park, Calif. native racked up 12 victories, including half of the 2023 season. In those 48 starts Love had a staggering 5.1 average finish and a 4.1 average finish in his championship season.
“We’ve been watching Jesse for a while now and his breakout performance in the ARCA Menards Series was impressive this season,” said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR. “We know that he has the talent and determination to win races and compete for championships within RCR’s NASCAR Xfinity Series program. We are looking forward to welcoming Whelen back for another year on the No. 2 program and feel confident that Jesse will be a strong ambassador for Whelen.”
The two-time ARCA West champion also made his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut in 2023. In two starts he scored one top-10 finish, in his debut while filling-in for Corey Heim at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. Love scored a 13th-place finish in his other start at Kansas Speedway.
“I’ve been fortunate to gain a lot of racing experience at a young age, but nothing compares to the opportunity to race for a legendary team like Richard Childress Racing,” said Love. “I have so much respect for Richard Childress and am extremely grateful to be able to race and learn with one of the most successful teams in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
“I’ve dreamed of racing at the highest levels of the sport since I was a young kid, and the path to the NASCAR Cup Series seems more clear with this opportunity. It’s even more special to be able to represent a company like Whelen who has a long-standing involvement in motorsports and strong focus on building American-made products.”
The 18-year-old will compete for Rookie-of-the-Year honors, competing with Hailie Deegan for the 2024 award.
Several weeks ago, Creed, the 2020 Truck Series champion, announced his departure from the Chevrolet team. With two races remaining in the Xfinity Series season, he sits eighth on the playoff grid, 65-points below the cutline.
Creed’s has yet to announce his plans for the 2024 season.