Brent Crews ends Jesse Love’s four-race win streak, earns first victory at Springfield
BY BRANDON WHITE / ARCA
SPRINGFIELD, Illinois — Jesse Love’s impressive summer win streak came to an end on Sunday afternoon courtesy of his Venturini Motorsports teammate Brent Crews.
A bump-and-run on Love shortly after the final restart of the day was all Crews needed to pull away from the field during the Dutch Boy 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds and win in just his second ARCA Menards
Crews is no stranger to finding Victory Lane on a dirt track but took great pride in earning his first series victory at a historic facility like the Springfield Mile.
“This is the highest-caliber stuff I’ve ever done,” Crews said. “Being able to win [at Springfield] means a lot, but I want to give all glory to God. None of this would be possible without him, [my crew chief] Monon [Rahman] and everyone at Venturini Motorsports that puts their hands on this thing to make it fast.”
Entering the Dutch Boy 100, Crews had already racked up a stellar dirt track resume that included multiple victories in Midget cars.
It did not take long for Crews to get comfortable with the heavier ARCA cars around Springfield’s one-mile dirt oval. He set the fastest lap in General Tire Pole Award qualifying with a time of 35.544 seconds before going on to dominate the Dutch Boy 100.
The only competition Crews faced came from Love, who passed Crews shortly after the initial start. After losing the lead to Crews, Love continued to fade during the final green flag run and settled for a third-place finish.
Although Love was unable to tie Tim Steele, Bruce Gould, Harold Smith and Jack Bowsher for most consecutive ARCA Menards Series victories with five, he did help complete a perfect weekend for Venturini Motorsports.
Sandwiched in between the two Venturini cars was Andres Perez de Lara, who recorded a career-best second-place finish despite having no dirt experience before Sunday’s Dutch Boy 100.
Perez de Lara wanted to learn as much as possible through the 100 laps at the Springfield Mile. He was satisfied with his overall performance and is optimistic about his chances of winning the next ARCA Menards Series dirt race at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds on Sept. 3.
“I’m just happy with a second place,” Perez de Lara said. “It was really fun out there. This was my first time on dirt, so I didn’t really know what to expect. We progressed so much throughout the day, so I know a lot more going into DuQuoin. Hopefully we can have a better finish [there].”
As he navigated an increasingly dry Springfield Mile, Perez de Lara ended up losing sight of Crews, who won the Dutch Boy 100 by just more than 20 seconds.
Diligent work in the pits during the Lap 50 race break helped Crews find the speed to usurp Love in the second half of the race. Crews did not have to wait long, as a rare mistake from Love allowed him to muscle his way ahead and cruise to that first win.
Love] was super fast to start off,” Crews said. “When we came to pit road and came back off, I knew we would have a super quick race car. Jesse kind of bobbled up in [Turns] 1 and 2, but I knew he was going to run me really hard. I stuck it to the inside and we ended up making it work.”
Crews has not yet committed to competing at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, but with $20,000 on the line for sweeping both dirt races as part of the Performance Seed Dirt Double, he hopes to have a shot at another win in just a few short weeks.
There won’t be much rest for the ARCA Menards Series competitors following their grueling doubleheader weekend. The next race on the calendar is the Sprecher 150 on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 27 at the Milwaukee Mile. The event is a combination event with the ARCA Menards Series East. FS1 will have live coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET.