Jesse Dominates Kansas

Jesse Love celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Dawn 150 at Kansas Speedway on May 6, 2023. (Photo: Ed Zurga/ARCA Racing)

Jesse Love dominates for second consecutive victory during Dawn 150 at Kansas Speedway 


KANSAS CITY, Kan. (May 6, 2023) – The future of NASCAR was on full display during Saturday’s Dawn 150 at Kansas Speedway.

Jesse Love and Taylor Gray entertained the crowd with a thrilling battle that saw the two drivers exchange the lead for most of the afternoon. Love ultimately emerged victorious over Gray and teammate Dean Thompson for his second straight ARCA Menards Series victory and Venturini Motorsports’ fifth across the ARCA platform in 2023.

When Love climbed out of his No. 20 GEARWRENCH Toyota to celebrate on the frontstretch, he admitted to being simultaneously exhilarated and exhausted following a grueling race in the Kansas heat.

“This place is tough,” Love said. “I had never raced on [an intermediate], and I did a B+ job yesterday [in pre-race practice] and wanted to do an A+ job today. It was fun, but I’m worn out. This is the most tired I’ve ever been.”

Love was determined to hold onto his car until the checkered flag to ensure Venturini Motorsports could achieve redemption from last year’s Dawn 150.

A dominant run by Corey Heim in the same car Love was driving Saturday was derailed after he and Drew Dollar crashed while battling for the lead on a restart, which resulted in eventual ARCA Menards Series champion Nick Sanchez earning one of his three victories during the 2022 season.

History came close to repeating itself on numerous occasions for Venturini, as Love had to play both offense and defense while trying to fend off Gray as well as teammate Dean Thompson.

By the time the race reached its closing stages, Love’s most pressing competition came in the form of Thompson, as Gray had bounced off the wall while trying to chase the Venturini teammates down following a bad restart.

Like Love, Thompson was also fatigued after trying to chase down Love in the heat with a broken cool box. Despite being disappointed to finish second, Thompson considered his first start with Venturini a success and hopes to obtain more knowledge from the organization and Toyota while embarking on his second season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

“Venturini put together a great car,” Thompson said. “That’s why I’m here, [to learn]. I dumped dirty air [on Love] and that’s something you have to learn somehow. Toyota has been absolutely phenomenal in developing me. I just have to get better.”

With Love managing to fend off one last charge from Thompson on the final lap, he now has four ARCA Menards Series victories during his career.

Love expressed confidence in the ability of himself and Venturini to keep adding to that total as the 2023 season progresses, adding the relentless dedication of everyone at the shop is the primary reason why he and so many others have found success with the organization.

“We’re beating Cup guys and Truck [Series] teams,” Love said. “These guys work so hard and are in the shop from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. some nights. That’s how we win races and I’m so proud of them.”

Gray settled for third with Connor Mosack and Jack Wood following him in the final running order. Andres Perez de Lara, Cody Coughlin, Frankie Muniz, Christian Rose and Greg Van Alst completed the top-10.

The ARCA Menards Series takes a few weeks off before heading to Charlotte Motor Speedway for Memorial Day weekend for the General Tire 150 on May 26. The green flag will wave at 6 p.m. ET with FS1 providing the coverage.

  • Race results:
Pos No. Name Sponsor Laps Diff
1 20 Jesse Love* GEARWRENCH 100
2 25 Dean Thompson Thompson Pipeline Group 100 0.176
3 17 Taylor Gray Dead On Tools 100 0.796
4 18 Connor Mosack* Joe Gibbs Racing 100 3.199
5 6 Jack Wood Velocity Racing 100 11.337
6 2 Andres Perez de Lara* Max Siegal Inc 100 11.732
7 72 Cody Coughlin JEGS/Cody Coughlin Company 100 12.581
8 30 Frankie Muniz* Built Ford Proud 100 18.703
9 32 Christian Rose* West Virgina Department of Tourism 100 22.364
10 35 Greg Van Alst CB Fabricating 100 23.084
11 55 Toni Breidinger Victoria’s Secret 100 24.005
12 74 Mandy Chick* Dynamic Drivelines/ 100 26.128
13 66 Jon Garret* Lick ‘Em Stick ‘Em 99 1 Lap
14 69 Scott Melton Melton McFadden Insuracne/Donna’s Donuts 99 1 Lap
15 45 Tony Cosentino* Tamayo Sports Florida 97 3 Laps
16 8 Sean Corr Nesco 97 3 Laps
17 7 Matt Wilson* 7 Brew Coffee 94 6 Laps
18 11 Josh Reaume Cover Craft 92 8 Laps
19 03 Alex Clubb Yavapai Bottle Gas 92 8 Laps
20 06 A.J. Moyer* Rivers Edge Cottages & RV Park/JRC Transportation 91 9 Laps
21 0 Kevin Hinkle KH Automotive 91 9 Laps
22 15 Amber Balcaen ICON 71 29 Laps
23 97 Jason Kitzmiller A.L.L Construction 64 36 Laps
24 48 Brad Smith 27 73 Laps
25 12 Gage Rodgers* Bolara Foam 20 80 Laps
26 10 Tim Monroe 8 92 Laps
27 01 Zachary Tinkle 3 97 Laps
28 73 Andy Jankowiak* Dak’s Market/Whelen 0 100 Laps