Special from Speed51.com – A busy 2021 season for Jesse Love continues with his first trip to Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway for the North/South Super Late Model Challenge. It will be the reigning ARCA Menards Series West champion’s second Super Late Model event since the World Series of Asphalt in a season that will see him drive for Wimmer Motorsports in several races throughout the year.
Watch Live: North/South SLM Challenge at Nashville
After a top-five points result at the World Series and a top-10 finish in the Icebreaker 100 at Dells Raceway Park, Love heads to a track that he says better fits his driving style. The speed he showed in those two events has him confident going into his first race at Nashville.
“Nashville’s more of a track that suits my style of driving. It’s kind of go as fast as you can go and it takes a lot of finesse, a lot of speed and a lot of courage,” Love told Speed51. “I think our Hamke will be really good there, the first time we raced it was at the Dells a few weeks ago and we had a ton of speed. We ended up having a decent top-ten finish and we challenged for the lead, but we just fell off pretty late in the race. I think that we were already so close at the Dells and I think it’s going to be even better this weekend.”
Love first joined Chris Wimmer and Wimmer Motorsports for the World Series of Asphalt in 2020, scoring a win and finishing third in final points. He rejoined the team in 2021 for a more ambitious schedule that will include crown jewel events around the country.
He made his first start for the team away from New Smyrna two weeks ago at Dells Raceway Park for the Alive For Five Series opener. He finished seventh that afternoon, remaining in contention throughout the 100-lap race.
“I think it’s going really well. We’ve already got three or four podiums and I’ve ran probably seven races with them. At the Dells we had speed, qualified really well, fast in practice all weekend and fast in the race too, just missed our long run setup. Overall, it’s gone really well. We switched over to a Hamke and we’ve been working really well with the people over at Hamke. I’ve been able to learn a lot about the new car and I really like it.”
Love contested the full Spears SRL Southwest Tour season in 2019 for Naake-Klauer Motorsports, with a best finish of fifth at Kern County Raceway Park. Even with that past Super Late Model experience, he says racing a Super Late Model out East is completely different than what he experienced on the West Coast
“I ran Supers for about a year on the West Coast and it’s a much different car than what I’m running now. I kind of knew what to expect but West Coast Super Lates are completely different, just the thought process and how you go about things is different than on the East Coast and the Midwest.” -Jesse Love
“I’ve been having a lot of fun working with Chris and he really knows what he’s doing. Overall, he’s been doing a great job and he’s been giving me fast race cars. We’re just building our notebook up for races like the Derby, Winchester, All American 400, these big crown jewel events later in the year. I’m having a lot of fun racing against some stout guys, at the Dells you had 46 cars and so many guys could have won the race. Then at the World Series you’re running with Stephen (Nasse) in the 100-lapper and giving him a run for his money was really good too. We’ll see if we can beat them all this weekend.”
With big races coming up throughout the year, Love is searching for a win at Nashville to give he and Wimmer Motorsports momentum going into the rest of the season.
“It would be super cool and it would give us a lot of confidence going into the later stages of the year. I know we have the speed to do it, I just have to fix maybe some of the feedback that I give to make our long run speed a little bit better. I’m really looking forward to this weekend, it would mean a ton to win at a place like Nashville and getting my draft stock up a little bit more would be huge too. At the end of the day we’re looking after wins, I’m looking forward to seeing how much better we are now and we’ll take care of business.”
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-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo