Love Shows Persistence With Top 20 In Portland

June 1, 2024: at Portland International Raceway in Portland, OR (HHP/Jim Fluharty)

PORTLAND, Ore. – A roller-coaster weekend for Jesse Love and Richard Childress Racing ended with a top-20 finish in Saturday’s Pacific Office Automation 147 at Portland Int’l Raceway.

Though he qualified 12th at the 12-turn, 1.967-mile circuit, unapproved post-qualifying adjustments to the No. 2 Whelen Chevrolet Camaro meant that Love had to drop to the tail of the NASCAR Xfinity Series field for the start of the 75-lap event.

Love wasn’t able to accrue any stage points Saturday, but he did get as high as sixth at one point in the race before a restart stack-up left him with front and rear damage that required a green-flag pit stop to repair.

That stop pinned Love a lap down, but he was able to get the free pass during a lap-63 caution for debris in turn nine. From there, he worked his way forward on two late restarts and avoided a six-car crash in turn 12 with eight to go to finish in 19th.

It was a gritty, persistent effort that kept Love fifth in points at the halfway point of the Xfinity Series regular season. Thirteen of the 26 races preceding the playoffs are complete after Saturday.


“Our No. 2 Whelen team never gave up at Portland Int’l Raceway,” said Love. “We started from the rear and were able to consistently move forward. The car needed more drive, but Danny (Stockman) and our team kept working on it. It overall wasn’t our greatest performance, but the sign of a great team is how you keep battling through challenges.

“With the amount of front and rear damage that our car had and then having to pit under green to make repairs, our race could have very easily been over. The guys did a solid job of fixing the damage, and after a couple of cautions, we were able to get back on the lead lap to finish inside the top-20,” he continued. “We will go back to the drawing board this week and be better next week at Sonoma Raceway.”

Love leaves Portland 73 points behind leader Cole Custer and fourth on the provisional playoff grid.

In the midst of a two-race road course swing, Love and the Xfinity Series field will return to action Saturday, June 8 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.

Coverage of the Zip “Buy Now, Pay Later” 250 is slated for 8 p.m. ET on FS1, the Performance Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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