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RCR may carry Love to its first Xfinity win at Talladega

Jesse Love earned his first career NASCAR .

In many ways it was a triumphant redemption for the 19-year-old Californian, who led the race in overtime in Atlanta earlier this season but ran out of fuel before the checkered flag. Love’s win in the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet makes him just the seventh driver to score his first win at the 4.26-mile Talladega Superspeedway.

“They’re just a great group of guys and it’s been quite a journey to get to this point,” a grinning Love said before thanking a litany of people who have helped him thus far in his young career.

“I had PTSD flashbacks from Atlanta,” Love acknowledged, adding, “I love Talladega. I love the speedway and I love the fans.”

Love certainly deserved this first victory – starting on the outside of the front row alongside his experienced RCR teammate Austin Hill, he won his fourth stage of the season (Stage 1) and led 28 of the 124 laps. He was top five for most of the afternoon and when he had to go on the final restart, he went. Jumping to the lead at the green flag in overtime and staying off the field when it mattered most.

His RCR teammate Hill, the pole sitter, led a race-best 42 laps and was at the front with two laps to go in regulation when he was hit from behind by Parker Kligerman. The incident sent Hill’s car into the wall, eventually collecting nine cars, including many that had been moving to the front for most of the afternoon, sending the race into extra time.

On the subsequent overtime restart, Kligerman was eliminated in a four-car front accident as several cars in the field ran out of gas. Love was in the front row for the final restart among eight drivers racing for their first career wins.

Herbst’s second-place finish in the Stewart-Haas Racing Ford was his best performance of the year. Our Motorsports Anthony Alfredo finished third, followed by Young’s Motorsports rookie Leland Honeyman and Alpha Prime Racing’s Brennan Poole. Alfredo equaled the best mark of his career and Honeyman had the best result of his career.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Sheldon Creed, Alpha Prime Racing’s Caesar Bacarella, 2023 Talladega winner Matt DiBenedetto of Viking Motorsports, Jordan Anderson Racing’s Jeb Burton and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer rounded out the top 10.

There were 34 lead changes among 16 drivers on a typical Talladega afternoon.

Ryan Sieg, who lost to Sam Mayer in a photo finish last week at Texas Motor Speedway – by 0.002 seconds – won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

An eleven-car accident on lap 65 proved pivotal for several race leaders and drivers eligible for Dash 4 Cash.

Herbst hit the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevy of Justin Allgaier with just two laps to go in the opening stages – both battling for a top 10 and some early stage points. It eliminated Allgaier from the fight. Mayer was eliminated in a later multi-car crash, setting up an intriguing battle between Sieg, who had to make a green flag pit stop late in the race due to a flat tire, and AJ Allmendinger, whose car was damaged in a crash.

Sieg and Allmendinger were in 19th and 20th respectively at the second overtime restart and Sieg was able to pull away to finish 17th with Allmendinger 19th.

“This is huge for our team,” Sieg said. “It was a tough one. I thought I had thrown it away, but I was lucky enough to get the warning at the end and come back and beat the number 16. So it all worked out and it’s pretty exceptional for our little team.

Not only does he win the Dash 4 Cash paycheck, but Sieg will be in Dover, Del. next week. compete against Love, Herbst and Alfredo for the final race of the incentive program.

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Chandler Smith, who finished 25th, still has a 14-point lead over Custer at the top of the championship.

The NASCAR Ryan Truex is the defending race winner.

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