Editor’s Note: Jesse Love, 14, is a multi-faceted driver, competing in his rookie season in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League, as well as in 360 winged sprint cars.
Love will be sharing his racing experiences with Sprint Car & Midget subscribers while competing throughout the season. This week, he is driving the Harley VanDyke No. 5h sprint car during the Western Sprint Tour’s annual Northwest Speedweek.
Below is his newest diary entry, recapping Wednesday night’s Speedweek round at Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage Grove, Ore.
COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. – If a top-10 finish on opening night of Northwest Speedweek Monday was cool, then another one on Wednesday at Cottage Grove Speedway has already made my week twice as nice!
The only negative for us all night long was that we had to go out really late in qualifying on Wednesday, which put us behind the 8-ball a bit for the rest of the night. It’s always tough going out at the end of the order in time trials, because you don’t get as good of a track as some of the earlier guys got to run on.
By the time we got to the feature, though, we were rolling pretty well. Cottage Grove is a quarter mile, but there was a lot of room to race for a good portion of the night. The track went really slick at the end and wasn’t quite the way I like the shorter tracks when I race, but it was fun early on in the night.
I do like slick tracks for the most part, and feel really confident in those types of conditions, but the track went to one groove and it just got super difficult to pass – which is always tough as a driver when you’re trying to move forward. We still finished ninth, though, which was a good points night for us.
One thing that stuck out to me throughout the night was how awesome the fans were at the track. It was a great bunch who really seemed to love sprint car racing and I had so much fun interacting with them and helping give people some unforgettable memories along the way.
The original plan wasn’t even to race at Cottage Grove on Wednesday – the race was scheduled to be at Willamette Speedway – but rain had Willamette too wet to race and Cottage Grove really stepped up to make it happen. We can’t thank the track staff and Western Sprint Tour officials enough for doing that.
All in all, I’m really happy with where we’re at right now. To be racking up top-10 finishes against the stout competition that we’ve got out here during Northwest Speedweek is a major confidence booster for me and makes me proud of the speed we’re gaining with Harley Van Dyke and this whole crew.
I know I’m learning a lot and we’re getting closer to that win. I think we can snag one at Sunset Speedway Park on Thursday night if we can put ourselves in the right position. That’s going to be another new track for me, and one that I’m excited to get down the road to with the momentum we have.
See you guys at the race track!
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