California’s Jesse Love led 73 laps to become the third 17-year-old winner of the ARCA-Menard’s Dutch Boy-Allen Crowe 100 on the Springfield Mile in 2022. A year older, with more dirt experience, the 18-year-old comes to Springfield as the ARCA point leader and favorite to repeat at Springfield.
Love led every mile contested at Springfield as an accident on lap 73 forced the rain-delayed race to be flagged 27 miles short of completion. The 2022 Crowe 100 was Love’s lone victory in 14 starts in 2022, but he’s dominated the 2023 season winning seven races and leading about 75% of the laps. He’s also been doing some dirt track midget racing on the side. Love nearly won at DuQuoin last year as well. His Venturini team has won 6 of the ARCA races at Springfield since 2013. Their combined dirt track success makes the driver and the team the odds-on favorites heading into the Crowe 100.
Actor/race driver Frankie Muniz is second in the ARCA standings still searching for his first ARCA win. The Agent Cody Banks and Malcolm in the Middle star is an ARCA rookie and a rookie on the dirt mile. Others in the top ten include Andres Perez DeLara, Christian Rose, Jon Garrett, A.J. Moyer and veteran Brad Smith. None have a win in 2023, and only Smith has starts on the Springfield dirt.
Fifteen-year-old Brent Crews just might lead the “dirt ringer” contingent, though other drivers might have something to say about that on Sunday. Crews has considerable sprint car and midget experience, finishing second in the POWRi Midget championship in 2021 and winning 5 times. He occupies one of the Venturini cars, while midget driver Taylor Reimer of Oklahoma occupies another. The 23-year-old Reimer has steadily improved for owner Keith Kunz, with top finishes in POWRi and the Xtreme Midget series.
Springfield’s Kelly Kovski returns for another attempt as a driver, he has a win as an owner with Grant Enfinger in 2017. 1998 Dutch Boy 100 winner Ken Schrader returns behind the wheel of one of Andy Hillenburg’s mounts.
The “dirt ringer” brigade is one short for 2023. Long-time car owner Bill Hendren “dropped the mike” after Ryan Unzicker won DuQuoin on Labor Day 2022 giving the team long sought after wins on both dirt miles. Hendren sold his equipment in the off season leaving Unzicker without an ARCA ride.
Ottawa, Illinois driver Alex Clubb returns behind the wheel as well.
The 61st Dutch Boy 100 in memory of Allen Crowe is all part of a huge weekend of racing that begins Friday night, August 18 at Lincoln Speedway featuring MOWA Sprint Cars, Saturday afternoon, August 19 with USAC Silver Crown and Sportsman at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Saturday night at Macon Speedway with USAC National Midgets, and Sunday afternoon, August 20 with the ARCA Dutch Boy 100 and the Sportsman Nationals at the Illinois State Fair. Advance tickets for the Illinois State Fair races are available by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200, by calling the Illinois State Fair box office at 217-782-1979, or by stopping by the Illinois State Fair box office. Advance sale discounted tickets for the ARCA Menards Series event on Sunday, August 20 can be purchased in Central Illinois area Menards stores for a price of just $20.
By Jay Hardin Track Enterprises Staff