The ARCA Menards Series made a series of twists and turns Friday on the road course of Watkins Glen International in upstate New York. Joining the series in a one-off event, Corey LaJoie started on the pole with Jesse Love celebrating afterward in victory lane.
Coming into the road course event as the series points leader, Love didn’t have the best car all day on track. The driver of the No. 20 Toyota still managed to stay up front waiting for any opportunity to pounce. That opportunity came after Jack Wood spun in the latter stages to send the race into ARCA overtime – a one-lap green-white/checker restart.
“To stay on slicks or change to wets?” was the key question as a heavy mist arrived.
Kris Wright and Stanton Barrett stayed out on slicks for the final restart with the rest of the field electing for wet weather tires. Connor Zilisch quickly re-took the lead into turn one and led until the very last corner of the circuit. Love took his car wide and battled side-by-side with Zilisch to the end of the final turn before taking the lead and checkered flag.
In 13 races this year, Love heads into the one-mile Springfield dirt track Sunday, who is the defending winner, with eight wins and 12 top-10 finishes.
Connor Zilisch finishes second in his ARCA Menards Series debut by 0.195 seconds.
Also making his ARCA Menards Series debut was third-place finisher Brent Cruise.
Rounding out the top five were William Sawalich and Dale Quarterley.
Kris Wright, Andy Jankowiak, Zach Herrin, Stanton Barrett, and Jake Finish all leave with top 10s.
Big names fell out of the race early due to various issues with their cars.
Jon Garrett retired his No. 66 entry early after four laps on the board after starting 18th.
Frankie Muniz had a power issue on his No. 30 ride that forced them to the garage with only 22 laps complete.
Pole winner Corey LaJoie fell out of the race a lap later than Muniz because of brake issues.
The series quickly shifts to Springfield, IL on Sunday for the Dutch Boy 100 at 2:00 p.m. ET. on FOX Sports 1 and FloRacing.
- ARCA: Gus Dean Wins Season Opener at Daytona - February 17, 2024
- ARCA: Willie Mullins Wins First Career Pole Ahead of Season Opener at Daytona - February 16, 2024
- Ron Silk Wins 2024 NWMT Opener at New Smyrna - February 10, 2024