The ARCA Menards Series returned to the high banks on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway for the General Tire 200. The event at the 2.66-mile oval featured 34 starters and ended with Jesse Love picking up his third career victory.
The win was extra special for Love as he had his mother in attendance.
“My mom doesn’t come to a lot of races because she’s back supporting the family,” said Love to FS1. “This was the one race she wanted to come to and she was my biggest inspiration. I’m so happy!”
Leader of 35 circuits in the No. 25 entry, Love leaves with three ARCA wins along with 16 top-five and 26 top 10 finishes through 31 starts.
Gus Dean sat 0.129 seconds behind the winner at the time of the checkered flag. Dean, piloting the No. 25 entry with sponsorship from Dean Custom Air, picked up his 19th top five and 35th ARCA top 10.
2020 ARCA Menards Series champion Bret Holmes rounded out the top three finishers Saturday. In his first start of the year, the Munford, Alabama, native scored his 32nd ARCA top five run.
Andres Perez de Lara led 28 circuits finishing fourth while Sean Corr took home fifth.
The rest of the top 10 included Jack Wood, pole sitter Tayor Gray, Scott Melton, Frankie Muniz, and Jason white.
Patrick Emerling made his ARCA Menards Series and superspeedway debut piloting the No. 53 Emerling Gase Motorsports Ford. Emerling, most known for racing in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, started 32nd and finished 16th.
Daytona ARCA Menards Series winner Greg Van Alst came into the day with hopes of doing exactly what they were able to do at Daytona in February. Unfortunately, Van Alst would be involved in a race-ending crash on lap 15 after Melton got into the No. 35 entry on the backstretch.
“I know they started checking up in front of me, but there were several cars that were bouncing off the apron in the center of the corner,” said Van Alst after the crash. “He just drove down on the apron, and looks like the 15 (Amber Balcaen) might’ve broke or something, and I don’t know where he (Scott Melton) was going, I mean, nobody hit him from behind. He just right hooked me. Gonna have to have a conversation after seeing that replay.”
Other notables involved in on-track incidents throughout the day included Jason Kitzmiller, Tim Richmond and Mandy Chick.
The field slowed three times for on-track incidents while one was for a scheduled break at lap 39.
The ARCA Menards Series shifts its focus to Kansas Speedway on May 6th for the Dutch Boy 150 live on FS1 and MRN Radio at 2:00 p.m. ET.