Rookie-of-the-Year Contender – Jesse Love

Rookie-of-the-Year Contender – Jesse Love

As we continue looking at the 2019 Spears Srl Southwest Tour Series rookie class, next up is the youngest driver to ever start an SRL race. Fourteen-year-old Jesse Love, has certainly shown his diversity and skill behind the wheel of a race car, at an early age. He is the youngest Late Model winner and champion, at Madera Speedway (12 years) , where he has scored two Junior Late Model Championships. He is the 2018 INEX Road Course “Young Lion” World Champion from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Jesse also holds the distinction of being the youngest full-size Midget winner in history, as well as the 2018 Bay City Racing Association (BCRA) Champion. It is a mark that represents the series youngest champion, in its 80-year history. He was the first, and youngest driver in the history of the USAC series, to win the “Triple Crown”, representing all three championships (dirt, asphalt, overall in 2017) in a single season. Love is a six-time USAC Speed 2 Midget Series Champion. To top it off, he won the National INEX Legends race at the Road Course at Sonoma Raceway.

In 2019, Love is tackling the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series, with the potent Naake – Klauer Motorsports Team. He will also participate with the POWRi National Midget League, as a driver for Keith Kunz Motor Sports. When you add a 360 Winged Sprint Car to the schedule, The Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Driver will be a busy young man in 2019.

Love has started off his SPEARS Southwest Tour Series rookie campaign with a mixture of results in 2019. After three events, he sits 16th in the series championship standings, and third in the Rookie-of-the-Year chase. The young driver from Atherton, CA, has shown speed in both practice and qualifying. He has led several practice sessions, and has an average qualifying result of 8.3, in fields that have averaged over 30 Super Late Models per event. Love is still looking for his first top-15 finish in the series, however, despite running in the top-10 through a good portion of each event.

Love has found the competition in the SRL to be very tough, but he looks forward to the challenge of succeeding in the series.

“I thought the SRL competition would be difficult, but after racing in 3 events, it’s shown me that it’s even harder than I thought, but I enjoy the challenge”, Love told the SPEARS Southwest Tour Series.

Despite struggling to finish races, to begin his SRL career, Love knows it is only a matter of time before the results begin to reflect the speed of the car, and the quality of the team. He counts the first third of the season as a learning experience.

“We definitely have had winning speed all year”, Love began. “However, after a few learning lessons for me, and some bad luck, we haven’t had the finishes to back it up. A win is definitely coming, and I’m confident in my Naake-Klauer Motorsports Toyota. Every time we get to the racetrack, Mike Naake has a really fast car for me, and it’s an honor to drive for them. A win is coming soon!”

Love will be returning to Madera Speedway, his home track on asphalt, for the “SPEARS Southwest Tour 125 presented by 51 FIFTY LTM” on June 8th. “The Hammer”, as he is nicknamed, is ready to get back to a familiar track, not to mention a track that he has excelled at. Love has nine Junior Late Model wins, over the last two seasons, including two championships. He made his Pro Late Model debut at the end of 2018, where he picked up two third place finishes, in three starts. Those top three’s included the “$10,000-to-Win Short Track Shootout”, while also winning the Junior Late Model portion for the second consecutive year.

Love’s results in Madera give him confidence, heading to round number four of the SRL Championship season.

“This weekend (June 😎 I know it’s gonna be our race”, Jesse speculated. “We showed a lot of speed there, when we tested a while ago, so I’m confident going into this weekend. Racing with the SRL Tour is going to make it really hard, but I know we can do it!”

The TRD Driver will be looking to gain ground in the championship standings, and has set his goals high for the Madera Speedway event.

“My goal for Madera is to show speed, finish well, and win”, Love exclaimed! “We are definitely behind the 8-ball in points, so I hope we can pick off a few wins this season!”

Love is backed by a great team and several sponsors he would like to thank.

“I’d love to thank the whole Naake-Klauer Motorsports Team for all of their hard work this year”, Love proclaimed. I would also like to thank 51FIFTY Energy Drink, Mobile One, Toyota Racing Development and the SRL Tour for letting me compete at such a high level. It’s an honor!”

Love will be competing for the $5,000 winner’s check at Madera, thanks to the “Winners Bonus”, sponsored by Tilton Engineering and MPI – Max Papis Innovations. He will also be looking to advance his standing in the Rookie-of-the-Year competition, which pays out a lucrative winner’s package.

This year’s rookie winner will receive a ROTY package that includes a 55-gallon drum of race fuel from Sunoco Racing, a set of tires from Hoosier Tire West, a $1,500 certificate from VDL Fuel Systems, a 3/4 Wrap from Wrapped Graphics and a FLUIDYNE High Performance Cooling Module. The estimated value of this year’s package is in excess of $4,000.

On June 8th, the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour Series will run 125 laps in the SPEARS Southwest Tour 125 presented by 51 FIFTY LTM. They will be joined by the Spears Modified Series presented by Lucas Oil, the Legends of the Kearney Bowl, and the Madera Speedway Hobby Stocks for a can’t miss night of racing.