Amber Balcaen; Rette Jones Racing Carry Welcomed Momentum to Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn: Finally shaking off all the terrible luck that Amber Balcaen and her Rette Jones Racing team have had to endure over the past three months or so, the duo trek to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for Thursday night’s Bush’s Beans 200 on the heels of their fourth top-10 finish of the season.
Returning to a track for the first time this season at Kansas Speedway appeared to be the right medicine for Balcaen as she prepared to make the most of the homestretch in her freshman season on the tour.
A competitive practice and qualifying effort which showcased the No. 30 ICON Direct Ford inside the top-10, Mother Nature forced the 17th race of the season to be postponed until Sunday morning.
Under blue skies, Balcaen maintained a competitive pace during the Kansas Lottery 150 and bettered her spring effort at Kansas with an eighth-place showing.
Now, she invades Bristol for her first showing in “Thunder Valley” hoping to keep the momentum train moving forward.
“I am really happy we finally got a good run again at Kansas,” said Balcaen. “I really like that track and it’s good to have some momentum leading into this week at Bristol Motor Speedway.
“With all the bad luck we’ve had this summer, we had to bring our Bristol car to Kansas. We were careful last weekend at Kansas, but we still showcased that we had speed in our No. 30 ICON Direct Ford and we raced hard and were rewarded with a solid finish.
“Now, we can take that car without a scratch and focus forward.”
To help her prepare for her ARCA Menards Series debut at “The World’s Fastest-Half Mile,” she has been working several angles with hopes all the prerace homework will pay off.
“Bristol looks like a totally different animal than any track I’ve been on this year so I am working with the Driver Refine guys to help me prepare for this week,” added Balcaen.
“I will utilize the notes I learn from them, as well as spend hours on iRacing and watch footage of previous races.”
Thursday night’s rumble at Bristol will also mark the final combination race of the 2022 ARCA Menards Series. The race will be packed with cars competing from both the premier ARCA Menards Series and the ARCA Menards Series East.
With the combo event, the field is expected to be more competitive which should wrench up the intensity of the awaiting 200-lap race.
“I know it’s going to be a challenging field of cars at Bristol but I am still working for a top-10 finish for our ICON Direct | Rette Jones Racing team on Thursday night,” she added.
“We just have to qualify strong, utilize track position to our advantage and hope we have some luck too along the way.”
For crew chief and co-team owner Mark Rette, he continues to be proud of the resilience of his young driver and believes the stretch drive to the end of the season will be the team’s strength.
“Amber did a masterful job at Kansas,” offered Rette. “She did everything that we asked of her and it showed with a strong finish. We have just three races left on the schedule and they are three very demanding short tracks, but I think Amber will adapt to them well, including Bristol and contend for a solid finish.
“She is right, Bristol is probably going to be one of the most competitive races of the year, but if we just stick to our plan and stay out of trouble we can have a good showing and hopefully capitalize on the momentum for the final two races of 2022.”
ICON Direct will continue to adorn the primary positions on Balcaen’s race car in their 18th 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 Bristol, Balcaen sits seventh in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, 47 points out of fourth and 170 markers in the arrears to championship leader Nick Sanchez.
“Mark (Rette) and the entire RJR team have worked their butts off this year,” sounded Balcaen. “It hasn’t been easy with the schedule but they have kept plugging away to put good cars together to bring to the track for me week in and week out.
“I have learned a lot as a driver from Mark, he’s really helped improve my knowledge and skills. I get so much support from all the guys on my crew and feel they really believe in me which is super important for a team to have belief in their driver. I am very grateful for all of them.
“I want to still put together some top 10s and hopefully even sneak a top-five by the end of the season. I know we have it in us. I think our bad luck streak must be over by now and I am focusing on the positives of the speed and progression we have shown.”
The Bush’s Beans 200 (200 laps | 106.6 miles) is the 18th of 20 races on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins on Thursday, September 15, 2022, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. A timed General Tire pole session kicks off at 3:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire festivities. All times are local (ET).
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.