Amber Balcaen Takes Talladega Momentum to Kansas Speedway ARCA Debut
KANSAS CITY, Kan: Fresh off her career-best finish in the premier ARCA Menards Series, rookie Amber Balcaen looks to deliver her Rette Jones Racing team a strong top-10 finish in Saturday afternoon’s Dutch Boys 150 at Kansas Speedway.
After finishing a respectable 16th in the season-opening race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Balcaen set a goal to improve on her first superspeedway race. Mission accomplished.
A competitive No. 30 ICON Direct Ford Fusion kept Balcaen hovering inside the top-15 for a majority of the race. A late-race surge vaulted her to inside the top-10, but an untimely caution that ultimately froze the field, left Balcaen and her Mark Rette-led team with a season-high 12th place finish at the demanding 2.66-mile superspeedway.
Reflecting on her Talladega finish, Balcaen said it is important to continue to improve behind the wheel of her No. 30 ICON Direct Ford Fusion.
“It’s really important for me as a rookie to keep progressing forward each race,” explained Balcaen. “Seeing my improvement from Daytona to Talladega helps increase my confidence and builds positive momentum going into Kansas.
“The goal is always to be better and better every race, and if we can keep doing that then we will be on the right path to success.”
With a strong finish in the books and the superspeedway program completed for the season, Balcaen and her Mooresville, N.C. team look ahead to Saturday’s first intermediate race of the ARCA Menards Series season hoping the momentum continues in the fourth race of the year.
“I am really excited for Kansas,” said Balcaen. “It will be my first time on a mile and a half-track but I am ready for it.”
Set to embrace her first of several mile-and-a-half tracks of the 2022 ARCA season, Balcaen has been taking a calculated approach over the past two weeks to make sure she can execute at Kansas beginning with a combined practice and qualifying session on Saturday morning.
“I’ve been preparing for Kansas but watching videos of past ARCA races, studying in-car camera videos, practicing on iRacing and staying consistent in the gym,” she explained. “All of these elements are important for my debut in Kansas to be as seamless as possible.
“We have just forty-five minutes of track time on Saturday before the race starts, so it’s important for me to take advantage of that track time and apply it and give my team good feedback so we can post a fast lap and start as close to the front as possible.”
Kansas will also be the site of a new partner aboard her No. 30 Rette Jones Racing Ford Fusion. 1st Phorm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri is a high-performance supplement and nutrition that has been a long-time partner of Balcaen’s, however, this weekend, 1st Phorm will increase its commitment and serve as an associate marketing partner for the 100-lap race.
“1st Phorm and I have been partnered for the last eight years but this is the first time they will be on my race car in a larger way. Their brand and core values really align with mine, so it’s the perfect fit. I am a big advocate for fitness and health, so I am excited to have them on the car this weekend.”
As far as the race, Balcaen believes her Rette Jones Racing No. 30 ICON Direct Ford Fusion can contend for a top-10 finish or better.
“A good goal for our team on Saturday is a top-10 finish, but I would be really happy with a top-five,” she said. “I want to have fun like I did at Talladega and keep progressing forward as a driver.”
For crew chief and co-team owner Rette, he is confident that his rookie driver will adapt and find her groove and continue a solid pace in her ARCA Menards Series quest.
“Amber did a terrific job at Talladega,” added Rette. “I am excited to see what she can do on some of these cookie-cutters tracks on the ARCA Menards Series schedule. Kansas is a good placemat to get us ready for Charlotte at the end of the month.
“She’d like a top-10 on Saturday and that would be a good booster for our Rette Jones Racing team and give us even more momentum for the upcoming races.”
ICON Direct will continue to adorn the primary positions on Balcaen’s race car in their third 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.
The Dutch Boy 150 (100 laps | 150 miles) is the fourth of 20 races on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule. A combined practice and qualifying session begins on Saturday, May 14, 2022, from 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) managing the radio waves 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.