One of the most prolific Toyota Racing Development prospects will make his East Coast debut in the World Series of Asphalt in the form of Jesse Love.
The 15-year-old from Menlo Park, California will compete for Wimmer Motorsports in the No. 21 Toyota Camry following a half-decade of experience across several disciplines. Love is the 2017 and 2018 Madera Speedway JR Late Model champion. He captured the 2018 INEX Road Course World Championship in a Midget at the Las Vegas Motor Speedwat,
Now he has arrived on the East Coast in a fully-powered Super Late Model for seven days of racing in nine nights against some of the toughest competition he has faced to date.
“We are very excited to work with Wimmer Motorsports for Speedweeks,” Love said in a press release. “Chris Wimmer’s reputation speaks for itself and I’m excited to go to school and learn from Chris. He has worked with a long list of drivers such as [Harrison] Burton with great results.
“I am honored to be able to work with him. The entire Wimmer team has been very welcoming and helpful leading up to the race, constantly checking in, getting the team ready, and making sure that I am ready to show up at the highest level.”
Wimmer Motorsports has competed in Speedweeks for the past four years with Harrison Burton and Logan Seavey, accumulating seven wins, 16 top-fives and 19 top-10s.
“We’re very excited to be heading down to Speedweeks again and to have Jesse behind the wheel this year,” Wimmer said. “I’ve heard great things about Jesse and am looking forward to working with him for Speedweeks this year.”
Love enters Speedweeks with one year of Super Late Model racing on his resume, having received an age waiver to compete in the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour due to his success in JR Late Models. In 2019, he earned one top-five finish and three top-10s in nine starts.
This is his first time racing Late Models on the East Coast.
“My top thought would be that I’m excited,” Love said. “I’m looking forward to a solid week of Super Late Model racing with some of the best Super Late Model drivers in the country. I’m also looking forward to getting some experience on New Smyrna in advance of my ARCA debut at New Smyrna.
“There will be a lot to learn and I am looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to the challenges of a new track with new competitors in a new series. I will be focusing on topics such as pace of the race, rhythm and tempo of the track and competition, and the give and take of East Coast competition. As I reflect on these topics, I am very grateful to be in Wimmer camp for the week. I will be relying heavily on Chris and his team as I experience these new challenges.”
At the same time, Love also feels prepared, having learned as much as possible racing some of the biggest names on the west coast during the 2019 season — something very much comparable to what he will face throughout the next two weeks in Central Florida.
“Last year, I was lucky enough to get a waiver to run the SPEARS SRL Tour at 14,” Love added. “This provided me the opportunity to run against top caliber drivers like (Derek) Thorn, (Preston) Peltier, (Jeremy) Doss, (Jacob) Gomes, (Linny) White and (Cole) Moore. It was literally like going to school and I was honored to be out there on those tracks with those drivers at that age. I learned a lot over the season, picked up multiple top-five qualifying runs, and finished off the year with a top-five at Kern, which made me the youngest top-five finisher in the history of the SRL Tour.”
It’s a resume that gives Wimmer a lot to work with once they unload for test day on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a long week,” Wimmer said. “It’s important to be good when you unload, but then it’s just about getting a little better each night and being in contention every night. We’ve done a pretty good job of that in the past and I know with Jesse and his experience we’ll be able to continue to build on things throughout the week.”