One of the most talented youngsters out west is starting to emerge on the national scene with a 2019 schedule that includes a little bit of everything to test his developing skillset.
Jesse Love, 13, will compete full-time next year in the SRL Southwest Tour for Naake-Klauer Motorsports. As a Toyota Racing Development driver, he will also see time in a Keith Kunz Motorsports Midget in the POWRi Series. He will also compete in a handful of races inside a 360-winged sprint car for Harley Van Dyke Motorsports.
Love is already the youngest driver to have won a full-sized midget race, breaking a record held by Jeff Gordon and the youngest to have won the BCRA Midget Series championship. He also ‘won’ the TRD young drivers combine race at Irwindale Speedway in an identically prepared California Late Model.
He is also a graduate of the groundbreaking Junior Late Model division at Madera Speedway — lending him experience in a full-sized stock car.
“Next year will be a big stretch year for me … I am so blessed and grateful to be able to have all these opportunities,” Love said. “I know there will be a lot of learning and I’m excited to have teachers like Keith and Mike to help me take these steps at such a young age. At the same time, I’m going into this season believing and expecting that we will win races and be successful because of those around me.”
Toyota’s driver development scout, Jack Irving is excited to see how Love responds to a stiffer challenge.
“We knew about Jesse two years ago … I believe he was 11, and he was just special,” Irving said. “He was running different types of vehicles, both in dirt and on pavement, and winning in both disciplines. There would be times that he would win in a pavement car on a Friday night, and then run a Saturday dirt race and win that too. He had some phenomenal stats for a kid his age.”
“The more we got to know him and his family, the more that we saw something different in him, as a driver, a leader and as a young man outside the race car. What he has been able to do at Madera in a Late Model is impressive, and every time he’s stepped up into a new class, he’s done really well. His Combine performance just further verified what we already knew statistically. When an opportunity opened to do something with Jesse at KKM, our group and his group felt that was the right choice to further his development and we’re really looking forward to seeing him in action.”