Amber Balcaen; Rette Jones Racing Optimistic Ahead of ARCA Doubleheader
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.: Taking a much-welcomed off-week to reset, ARCA Menards Series rookie Amber Balcaen and Rette Jones Racing trek into an ARCA doubleheader weekend with an optimistic approach beginning with Friday night’s General Tire Delivers 100 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
Watkins Glen marks the second and final road course race of the season. Two days later, Balcaen and her Mark Rette-led team thunder to the Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield) for the first of two ARCA Menards Series races on the one-mile dirt in the Atlas 100 on Sunday, August 21.
While Balcaen will have zero laps turned at both race tracks, she is still approaching the unknown with a positive attitude in hopes that her mental approach will finally be the key to ending a frustrating summer for the driver of the No. 30 ICON Direct Ford Fusion.
“I’m happy to get another shot at a road course and hope Watkins Glen will be a good race for our Rette Jones Racing team,” said Balcaen. “I think Watkins Glen will fit my driving style a lot better than Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course did and hopefully I’ll be able to showcase that from practice to the checkered flag on Friday night.
“Hoping the rain stays away so we can get a fair crack at getting a top-10 finish with our No. 30 ICON Direct Ford Fusion.”
Soaring past the halfway point of the ARCA Menards Series season, Balcaen and her Mooresville, N.C.-based team hope to stop a challenging six-race stretch that has resulted in an average finish of 17.1 for the freshman ARCA driver.
While Balcaen has continuously been able to showcase speed with her No. 30 ICON Direct Ford Fusion at tracks like Berlin (Mich.) Raceway, Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, Michigan International Speedway and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway to name a few – getting to the end of the race has proven to be tough as issues have prevented Balcaen from delivering her fourth top-10 finish of the year.
The popular ARCA driver and team know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and with a recent reboot approach to the season – Balcaen is remaining confident as she knows there have been plenty of positives hidden behind the negative.
“We just have to continue to focus on the positives,” explained Balcaen. “There has been a lot of bad luck and a lot that has happened outside of our control. But we showed speed at Pocono, and we showed up with speed again in the most recent race at Michigan International Speedway.
“So, we know we are capable of running consistently in the top-10, it’s just a matter of our luck turning around and hopefully the races at Watkins Glen and Springfield provide the opportunities for us to get back on track.”
While the former Late Model driver has experience on a road course last month, Sunday’s 100-laps on the dirt will be a different task even with her background and success racing on the dirt in her previous racing endeavors.
“I think this weekend will be a lot of fun,” sounded Balcaen. “My background is dirt track racing so I am excited to be on the dirt on Sunday. It will be a busy weekend but as long as everything flows smoothly it should be a really fun one as well.”
Hopeful for two additional top-10 scores on Friday night and Sunday respectively, Balcaen is focused on getting a solid pace that would put her No. 30 Rette Jones Racing team in a positive spotlight with just six races remaining after Sunday.
“Dirt racing is my background so I feel confident about the dirt race, and as far as the road course race, I know I am a lot more capable than what I showed at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course,” spoke Balcaen.
“I am just looking for big improvement turning left and right and letting our car slide perfectly on Sunday afternoon. From there, we can look ahead to The Milwaukee Mile next weekend.”
For crew chief and co-team owner Mark Rette, he is confident that his rookie driver’s positive outlook will soon pay dividends.
“Amber is not going to give up and when our luck turns for the better, she is going to deliver the finishes I know we are capable of,” offered Rette. “Everything that has happened over the last several races has been a learning experience and will help the program for the long term.
“We’ll take our battle wounds and press on. She did a great job at Michigan and we experienced a parts failure. Hopefully, a double dose of racing gives us the shot in the arm that we need to turn our season around and focus ahead on the upcoming stretch drive.”
ICON Direct will continue to adorn the primary positions on Balcaen’s race car in their 13th and 14th 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 Watkins Glen, Balcaen sits sixth in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, 36 points out of fourth and 120 markers in the arrears to championship leader Nick Sanchez.
The General Tire Delivers 100 (41 laps | 100.45 miles) is the 13th of 20 races on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins on Friday, August 19, 2022, from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying kicks off at 4:25 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 and the Motor Racing Network beginning at 6:00 p.m. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (ET).
The Atlas 100 (100 laps | 100 miles) is the 14th of 20 races on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins on Sunday, August 21, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. General Tire pole qualifying kicks off at 11:15 a.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV and FloRacing beginning at 1:00 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.