Editor’s Note: Jesse Love, 14, is a rookie in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League. From June 13 through June 17, Love will be sharing his experiences with SPEED SPORT readers while competing during Illinois Midget Week.
Love drives the No. 97k Toyota-powered midget for Keith Kunz Motorsports. Below is his first diary entry, previewing Thursday night’s opener at Fayette County Speedway in Brownstown, Ill.
While Love’s first diary will be free to the public, the remainder of the series will be available to SPEED SPORT premium subscribers only. You can subscribe to become a premium member of SPEEDSPORT.com today for just $19.95/year by clicking here.
BROWNSTOWN, Ill. – Hi guys, my name is Jesse Love and I’m 14 years old.
For those of you who haven’t heard about me, I’m from Menlo Park, Calif., I’m a Legend car world champion, the youngest full midget winner and champion in the history of the discipline, a two-time late model champion and a six-time USAC Speed2 midget champion on the West Coast.
I started off racing at the age of five in quarter midgets, and thankfully, we were able to progress forward pretty quickly. From that point, I’ve moved on to run up and down the West Coast, racing both open-wheel cars and stock cars, as well as doing some road course racing as well.
This past year was my first time racing full midgets, where I learned a ton, and I was fortunate enough to be able to win several races as well as take home the overall Bay Cities Racing Ass’n (BCRA) midget championship, running on both the dirt and the pavement.
Our year last year gave me the huge opportunity to be able to join the Toyota Racing Development family and put together a midget schedule with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports this year, something I’ve been super pumped about, even though we haven’t been able to get near as many races in as I’d hoped to at this point due to Mother Nature.
I’ve told people this for the last few months, but just hearing my name in the same sentence as Keith Kunz Motorsports and knowing that I get to drive their race cars – it still gives me goosebumps and gets me excited about going to the race track each time out.
I remember being at Calistoga Speedway to watch my first-ever USAC midget race and going, ‘Wow, who are these guys?’ when I saw Keith’s group, because of all the cars they brought to the track. They won the race that night, but it was like a switch flipped in that moment and I knew right away that I wanted to be part of that.
They’ve helped build so many of the greats in midget racing, and I’m grateful that Keith and Pete Willoughby and Big Al (Scroggins) and everyone with KKM and TRD believe in me enough to allow me this kind of a shot. It’s really special for me at such a young age.
This week will be my first time running POWRi’s Illinois Speed Week, and I’ll be driving the No. 97k JBL Audio-sponsored midget for KKM in each of the next four nights. We had a big flip recently at Jacksonville, but we rallied back to a good finish and I’m confident we’ll be stronger than ever this week as we continue to learn and jell as a team together.
My goal going into Speed Week is to keep improving, learn lessons, and in the end hopefully win some of the races in hopes of bringing back the Illinois Speed Week title.
KKM has already won one title in the past week, with my teammate Logan Seavey bringing home the USAC Indiana Midget Week title, and I know he’s going to be just as stout competition this week – because he’s running with us in Illinois as well. I’m excited for that though, and looking forward to learning from – and hopefully beating him – along the way!
I’m so grateful for this opportunity and I hope to grab some trophies for KKM this week!