Amber Balcaen; Rette Jones Racing Determined to Rebound in Road Course ARCA Debut
LEXINGTON, Ohio: After a much-welcomed break, Rette Jones Racing and ARCA Menards Series rookie driver Amber Balcaen head to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course determined for a rebound in Friday afternoon’s Dawn 150k.
After a series of strong runs throughout the month of May, the two-race short track stretch at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway and Elko (Minn.) Speedway brought terror to the Mooresville, N.C.-based team with unfortunate circumstances and frustrating results.
But with any rocky trend in racing, the tide will eventually settle and the scenery will change and that’s exactly the approach Balcaen and her Mark Rette-led team are taking for the first of two road course races this season.
“The break last weekend was a welcomed opportunity to allow us to reset and refocus,” offered Balcaen. “Obviously Berlin and Elko did not go as we planned, but fortunately, there is plenty of racing left and hopefully we can go to Mid-Ohio and have a productive race that allows us to look ahead to Pocono Raceway in a few weeks.”
If not experiencing the oval tracks in the ARCA Menards Series for the first time wasn’t a big enough challenge, Mid-Ohio is a 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course and a style of racing that Balcaen has yet to tackle, but her focus to conquering the latest challenge is keeping her motivation peaked.
“I’m very optimistic about this weekend at Mid-Ohio,” said Balcaen. “Honestly, I have been preparing for it for the last couple of weeks now and even though I have never done anything like this before, it is just another challenge to conquer.
“I just want to make improvements from start to finish over the weekend and if we can achieve that then hopefully we will have a good result on Friday afternoon. We need to start collecting some points again and the only way we are going to do that is with a solid finish and seeing the checkered flag.”
To help curb any forks in the road this weekend at Mid-Ohio, Balcaen will work with former ARCA Menards Series winner and road course standout Will Rodgers who will serve as her exclusive driving coach for her ninth career ARCA start.
“I’ve heard a lot of good things about Will and I’m looking forward to having him in my corner this weekend,” she said. “With Mid-Ohio being my road course debut, I’ll take any tips or feedback that I can get and with Will being in my corner, I feel like he can help me make significant gains throughout the day.”
Balcaen finished 17th at Elko Speedway, 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 even more ground at Elko, but Mid-Ohio begins our mission to charge and fight back,” she said. “We are not even halfway in our 2022 season and we have 12 races left in the year, a lot can happen. We are regrouped and ready to fight forward.
“I am excited for Amber to work with Will (Rodgers). He is an amazing road course talent and I think he will be a huge asset to our Rette Jones Racing team on Friday.”
For crew chief and co-team owner Mark Rette, he is confident that his rookie driver will continue to adapt and rebound at Mid-Ohio.
“The last two races have been tough to swallow, but they have even been bigger learning experiences for Amber, so it is not a lost cause,” offered Rette. “In our most recent race at Elko, she was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Mid-Ohio isn’t going to be easy but collectively we are ready to tackle the 42 laps ahead of us with a positive attitude and hopeful with a little luck, a top-10 finish is possible on Friday.”
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 Mid-Ohio, Balcaen sits sixth in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, 11 points out of fourth and 65 markers in the arrears to championship leader Rajah Caruth.
The Dawn 150k (42 laps | 94.836 miles) is the ninth of 20 races on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule. A combined final and qualifying session begins on Friday, July 8, 2022, from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM channel 391, online channel 981 managing the radio waves beginning at 5:00 p.m. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend 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.