Jesse Love. (HHP/Tom Copeland)

Jesse Love Notches First Xfinity Series Pole

Richard Childress Racing swept the front row Saturday at Daytona as Jesse Love of Richard Childress Racing scored first pole in his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Daytona Int’l Speedway.

Love became the 14th different driver to win the pole in their Xfinity Series debut.

Love’s fast lap of 181.079 miles per hour in the NO. 2 Whelen Chevrolet topped teammate Austin Hill, who was second at 181.068 in the No. 21 Bennett Transportation Chevrolet.

“Just super grateful to be part of this opportunity,” Love said. “I hope we get to race today, but if not I’ll see everybody on Monday.”

NASCAR officials have moved up the race from 5:30 p.m. ET to a 4:30 p.m. ET green flag because of a storm system that is over Northern and Central Florida.

A.J. Allmendinger was third in the No. 16 Celsius Chevrolet at 180.799 mph. Parker Kligerman was fourth in the No. 48 Big Machine Spiked Coolers Chevrolet at 180.766 mph and New Zealand rookie Shane van Gisbergen was fifth in the No. 97 WeatherTech Chevrolet at 180.614 mph.

Love is the third youngest driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series to win a pole at Daytona y at 19 years, one month, three days; behind Dylan Kwasniewski (18) and Bryan Clauson (19). 

The event is currently in a rain delay.

If NASCAR is unable to avoid the rain, the Xfinity Series race may be moved to Monday. Sunday’s priority is to run the 66th Daytona 500, but the weather forecast also has that in jeopardy.