Amber Balcaen Focused on Rebound in Elko Speedway ARCA Debut
ELKO, Minn: Picking up the pieces from a disappointing outcome in this past Saturday night’s Zinsser SmartCoat 200 at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway, Rette Jones Racing rookie driver Amber Balcaen is focused on redemption in this weekend’s Menards 250 at Elko (Minn.) Speedway.
Balcaen aboard her No. 30 ICON Direct Ford Fusion appeared poised to deliver her fourth straight top-10 finish in ARCA Menards Series competition but an incident approaching halfway demolished any hopes of landing their first career top-five finish as an organization.
As to be expected in any rookie season for any driver, there will be growing pains, but how you pick yourself up and charge forward will showcase your ability to overcome adversity and that is exactly what is on Balcaen’s radar for Saturday night’s race.
“I’m still a little upset with myself as I mentioned on MAVTV on Saturday night,” said Balcaen. “As a race car driver, you push and sometimes you push so hard you find yourself in trouble. I made a mistake on Saturday night because I wanted so much to continue to propel our race team forward.
“And believe me, I will continue to push, but I think I will somewhat limit my expectations and just do what the car is able to give me at that exact moment. I’ve never been so ready to rebound and I’m glad we’re going back to another short track for a chance at redemption.”
Balcaen finished 11th at Berlin Raceway, her worst finish in four races and thankfully didn’t lose a lot of points on one of her goals of becoming the highest finishing female in the championship standings.
“We lost a little ground last week, but Elko is a prime opportunity to fight back,” she said. “There are 13 races left in the year, a lot can happen. “Even though it’s only been a few days, we are regrouped and ready to charge forward.”
Elko Speedway is the eighth different track that Balcaen will tackle this season and despite its tight and demanding confines, Balcaen is taking a similar approach to the weekend that has been productive in conquering new tracks.
“I was happy with our speed in practice at Berlin, so if we can continue that pace at Elko and then just take one lap at a time on Saturday night, then hopefully we can find ourselves somewhere nestled inside the top-10 when the checkered flag waves.
“It’s important for us to remember, if we focus on our finishes, the points will then take care of themselves.”
For crew chief and co-team owner Mark Rette, he is confident that his rookie driver will continue to adapt and rebound at Elko with her season-best finish.
“Berlin was certainly tough to swallow, but I think it was because of how Amber was feeling and with what happened on the race track,” offered Rette. “It’s racing, things like that are going to happen, but as a team we are resilient and we will rebound from Berlin and take on Elko with our heads held high and a determination that hasn’t been seen yet by this Rette Jones Racing team.
“Elko is a tough short track. Tire wear is critical to success, so we’ll keep that in mind with Amber working on the car throughout the day. It will be important to keep up with the balance of her race car going from day to night. It seems like a lot, but we are ready to have some fun and race hard on Saturday night.”
ICON Direct will continue to adorn the primary positions on Balcaen’s race car in their seventh of 20 races this season.
ICON Direct is a manufacturer of high-quality plastic component parts for the RV industry, located in Manitoba, Canada. ICON aftermarket replacement parts are available through RV Dealers and Distributors across North America and directly through their website IconDirect.com.
The Winnipeger’s new endeavor at Rette Jones Racing will also be supported by Glenn McLeod and Sons – cementing a full Canadian roster of partners for her ARCA Menards Series rookie season.
Longtime RJR partners Ford Performance, Goodridge Fluid Transfer Systems, Jones Group Demolition and Abatement and JRi Shocks will continue their relationship with the team in 2022 and serve as associate partners on Balcaen’s No. 30 ICON Direct Ford Fusion.
RJR is co-owned by Canadian entrepreneur and former race car driver Terry Jones.
Entering Elko, Balcaen sits fifth in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, six points out of fourth and 55 markers in the arrears to championship leader Rajah Caruth.
The Menards 250 (250 laps | 94 miles) is the eighth of 20 races on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule. A final practice begins on Saturday, June 25, 2022, from 3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. General Tire Pole Qualifying will follow shortly after starting at 5:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV and FloRacing beginning at 8:30 p.m. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (CT).
About Rette Jones Racing:
Headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina, Rette Jones Racing (RJR) was founded in 2015 with the intent of building a successful racing operation built around the fundamentals of hard work and a never-give-up attitude.
Owned by racers Terry Jones and Mark Rette, RJR plan to field a full-time entry in 2022 in the ARCA Menards Series, while also planning to field vehicles in the ARCA Menards Series East and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) respectively.
The winning ARCA team also offers technical and setup intel as part of its technical alliance partnership program.