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Breakfast at Jesse's: Love Scores Fifth Win of ARCA Season at Pocono


LONG POND, P.A. -- In a race postponed by rain to a Saturday morning start, Jesse Love clearly ate his Wheaties, surviving a pair of eventful late-race restarts to win the Sunset Hill Shooting Range 150 at Pocono Raceway, his fifth victory in ten tries this season.

Truck series regular Dean Thompson started from the pole, but was passed by Love and Andres Perez de Lara in the first turn, as Love surged to the early lead. Rev Racing had plenty of speed though, as Perez de Lara made a bold move on the outside of turn 2 to move into first place on lap 7, just before the first caution of the race for a Logan Misuraca spin.

It wasn't a banner day for Frankie Muniz, who entered the race as "Malcolm in the Middle" between Love and Perez de Lara in the standings, as he pitted with electrical issues and later needed a battery change, falling 13 laps off the pace and ultimately finishing 21st.

One of the scariest moments of the day came on lap 19, as veteran Bryan Dauzat lost control entering turn 3, slid through the grass, and overcorrected, hitting the outside wall head-on, ending his day. Dauzat thankfully walked away without injury, but the damage was extensive.

The two-horse battle between Love and Perez de Lara persisted into the second half of the race, with the pair exchanging the lead multiple times. For most of the race, the outside line was the place to be on restarts, with the car on top often getting the necessary launch and push to clear into first by turn 1, but everything changed with 15 laps to go.

On a restart following a Stephanie Moyer spin, Dean Thompson pushed a bit too hard on the outside, sending Andres Perez de Lara into the wall and back down into traffic, damaging both cars but keeping the race green after a pair of stellar saves. Perez de Lara was spared from having to make a green flag pit stop as Sean Corr brought out the caution later that lap. Jesse Love escaped the incident unscathed, with his primary competition falling to the back of the lead lap.

Love opted for the bottom on the subsequent restart, and the move paid off, easily clearing Connor Mosack and gapping the field in the closing laps.

"Last year, the leader on the inside was kind of a sitting duck because third was always pulling out," Love said. "This year I did a little bit of homework on how to not let that happen and time runs. I thought it was a lot safer to be there."

Perez de Lara had a remarkable recovery, storming back to third despite significant left-side damage, but it wasn't enough. Jesse Love took Venturini Motorsports to victory lane, extending his points lead with his seventh career ARCA Racing Series victory. Mosack crossed the line second, with Perez de Lara, Thompson, and Conner Jones rounding out the top five.

The season will continue on August 4th in the Irish Hills, with the penultimate leg of ARCA's 2023 superspeedway challenge at Michigan International Speedway.

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