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How Will Jesse Love Make It Up to the Cup Series

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What’s Happening?

Jesse Love is one of the top prospects in NASCAR today, and he’s impressed in his first season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. However, his team, Richard Childress Racing, is crowded, and his path to the Cup Series is far from a clear one. What is Jesse Love’s path to Cup?

  • Jesse Love is in his first season with RCR in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The 19-year-old won his first career race at Talladega back in April. This came after a dominant performance in the ARCA Menards Series in 2023 where Love won 10 races and ran away with the series Championship.
  • Richard Childress Racing has Love alongside teammate Austin Hill, also an interesting prospect in the Xfinity Series. However, the Cup Series lineup seems pretty well set for now, with future Hall of Famer Kyle Busch alongside Childress’ grandson, Austin Dillon.
  • Fans are excited about Jesse Love. They feel he will be a great Cup Series driver one day, but, how will he get here?

How Long Until Love is in the Cup Series?

It’s very rare for drivers to jump up to the Cup Series after only a single season in the lower series. Looking at current drivers who began their first full-time season this decade, all except one had at least two seasons in the lower series.

Full-Time Xfinity SeasonsFull-Time Truck SeasonsTotal Full-Time Lower Series Seasons
Tyler Reddick224
John Hunter Nemechek123
Christopher Bell224
Ty Gibbs101
Chase Briscoe213
Austin Cindric415
Todd Gilliland033
Harrison Burton213
Noah Gragson426
Carson Hocevar033
Zane Smith044
Josh Berry202

Ty Gibbs is The only driver to compete in less than two full-time seasons before moving up to the Cup Series. He came up in 2023, when Kyle Busch, somewhat unexpectedly, left Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s unclear whether or not the original plan was to move Gibbs up to the Cup Series so soon.

Circle B Diecast Block

It’s not uncommon for drivers to wait 2, 3, or even 4 or more seasons before moving up to the Cup Series. Tyler Reddick even had to wait an extra year after winning a Championship in the Xfinity Series in 2018.

There’s no need for Richard Childress Racing to rush Love to Cup. He’s still 19-years-old, and he has plenty of time to develop. This could allow other things at RCR to take shape.

Those Ahead of Him

Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon are both racing full-time in the Cup Series for RCR. Austin Dillon told Bob Pockrass back in 2022 that his current contract is through 2025. Kyle Busch’s contract is a bit more unclear, but RCR announced earlier this year that Rebel Bourbon is committed to sponsor Kyle Busch through 2025. It’s safe to say both drivers are signed through 2025, and Dillon, given he is Childress’ grandson, might be here even longer.

RCR also fields a third car from time to time. Could they be in the charter market to field a third full-time team once again? Maybe in the future, but, probably not this year.

At the earliest, Love probably won’t end up in the Cup Series with RCR until 2026, unless another opportunity comes along his way. We saw Zane Smith go from Front Row Motorsports to Trackhouse/Spire last offseason for a Cup opportunity, so, it’s not unprecedented.

RCR also has another Cup Series prospect to consider, Austin Hill. The team even fielded a third car for Hill in the Cup Series twice this season. Who gets priority if a ride opens up?

Hill is an RCR stalwart who is in his 3rd full-time Xfinity Series season with the team, but, he’s 30 years old. Love is younger, but, he’s less experienced with a smaller sample size.

Love has a lot of hurdles to jump to make it to the Cup Series. However, it’s probably not an issue RCR has to deal with this year.

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