Love tops Atlanta qualifying, becomes 1st NASCAR Xfinity driver to win pole in first 2 career races

HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Jessie Love became the first driver to win poles in his first two career NASCAR Xfinity starts by claiming the top spot on Friday in Atlanta.

Love won the pole for Saturday’s race with a best time of 31.87 seconds on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s 1.54-mile track.

The 19-year-old Love also won the pole for last week’s season-opening Daytona Xfinity race. He finished 20th at Daytona.

Austin Hill, Love’s Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet teammate, will start second on Saturday after a qualifying time of 31.94 seconds. Hill won last week’s Xfinity race at Daytona. Hill, from Winston, Georgia, won Atlanta’s spring race last season after also winning 2022’s summer race at his home track.

“It speaks volumes for how good this team is,” Love said. “… My goal is to hopefully get locked into the playoffs in the first five to 10 races and obviously we’ve got a good shot (Saturday) night.”

Love moved up to the Xfinity series after winning the 2023 ARCA championship.

Qualifying will be held on Saturday for Atlanta’s NASCAR Cup Series, scheduled for Sunday. William Byron, last week’s Daytona 500 winner, and Joey Logano won the two Cup Series races in Atlanta in 2023.


AP auto racing:

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