Amber Balcaen; Rette Jones Racing Return to Dirt Focused
DU QUOIN, Ill.: Fresh off a solid and clean race last Sunday at The Milwaukee (Wisc.) Mile, ARCA Menards Series rookie Amber Balcaen looks to build on that finish and return to top-10 status in her Du Quoin State Fairgrounds debut in Sunday night’s Rust-Oleum Automotive Finishes 100.
Last month, Balcaen returned to her racing roots on the dirt for her ARCA debut on the 1.0-mile dirt track of the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. She continued her impressive ways during the race as far as speed and consistency but unfortunately, she was sidelined from overheating issues that resulted in a 14th place finish.
With confidence that the Rette Jones Racing team led by former ARCA Menards Series championship crew chief and co-owner Mark Rette has the overheating issues corrected, together Balcaen and RJR hope to deliver their best run of the season under the lights.
“I am really excited for DuQuoin because I love dirt tracks and have a lot of fun on them but also because I believe we could have a really good finish,” said Balcaen. “We had top-five lap times at Springfield, so there should be no reason that we can’t come up with a top-five finish at DuQuoin!”
With an additional 100 laps on deck for Sunday night’s final dirt race of the season, Balcaen said it was important to get the experience at Springfield that will her allow her to get up to speed quicker for practice and qualifying at Du Quoin.
“I have dirt experience but didn’t have any dirt experience in an ARCA car so it was good to learn what these cars feel like on dirt and how they react so I can apply that experience for Du Quoin,” she added.
Taking the green flag and checkered flag in Milwaukee last weekend, Balcaen believes the team has stopped the bleeding regarding their bad luck and can concentrate on making the best of the remaining five races remaining on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule.
“I think our bad luck streak has finally ended which has been a big sigh of relief for our entire team,” Balcaen added. “We are now looking to finish this season off strong. Five races, five opportunities and we aren’t going to leave anything on the table.”
Looking to climb back inside the top-10 in the race results for the first time since Iowa Speedway in June, Balcaen believes her Mooresville, N.C.-based team can stomp back into the headlines with their best run of the season.
“I am expecting a top-five finish from myself and the RJR racing team on Sunday,” she noted. “We know we are good on dirt and want to capitalize on it. We need the points for sure and a top-five run would certainly give us some welcome momentum heading back to Kansas Speedway next.”
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.
“It was good to come out of Milwaukee without any major issues and a solid finish for Amber,” offered Rette. “We will work harder over these next five races to return to our earlier season form where Amber not only showcased her ability but kept our team and partners in the spotlight.
“She did a good job at Springfield and I think she is eager to get to Du Quoin and showcase what she learned. I agree with Amber that our luck is starting to turn and I know she is going to deliver the finishes I know we are capable of over the next six weeks.”
ICON Direct will continue to adorn the primary positions on Balcaen’s race car in their 16th 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 Du Quoin, Balcaen sits sixth in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, 48 points out of fourth and 155 markers in the arrears to championship leader Nick Sanchez.
“I want to still put together some top 10’s and hopefully even some top-fives by the end of the season,” sounded Balcaen. “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 Rust-Oleum Automotive Finishes 100 (100 laps | 100 miles) is the 16th of 20 races on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins on Sunday, September 4, 2022, from 4:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. General Tire pole session kicks off at 6:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV and FloRacing beginning at 8:00 p.m. CT | 9:00 p.m. ET. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire w1eekend 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.