On the heels of her career-best finish in the premier ARCA Menards Series two weeks ago at Kansas Speedway, rookie Amber Balcaen hopes to continue a solid ride of momentum and capture back-to-back top-10 finishes in Friday night’s General Tire 150 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
After mounting then a career-best 12th place finish at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in April, Balcaen and her Rette Jones Racing team invaded Kansas Speedway looking to maintain pace.
Not only did Balcaen maintain pace, but she impressed with a strong ninth-place finish in her track debut at the 1.5-mile speedway nestled outside Kansas City, Kansas.
With another 1.5-mile track on deck, this weekend and with most of the ARCA Menards Series teams within a 50-mile radius of the Concord, N.C.-race track, Balcaen is optimistic that she can not only back up her Kansas effort but perhaps land another career-best ARCA finish.
“I am really excited to race in Charlotte,” said Balcaen. “It’s now my new home track and I really enjoy mile and a half race tracks and look forward to backing up what we were able to produce at Kansas.”
Since the drop of the green flag to the 2022 ARCA Menards Series season in February at Daytona, Balcaen’s mission has been to make improvements with every start. Some finishes may not reflect the enhancements she has gained behind the wheel of her No. 30 ICON Direct Ford Fusion, but with every ARCA premier start, she is becoming a better driver and Kansas offered proof of that fact.
“Improving every race and getting that official top-10 finish was really big for both my development and confidence moving onto Charlotte this weekend,” added Balcaen. “I hope to build on what I learned in Kansas and get another top-10 result at Charlotte on Friday night.”
While Kansas and Charlotte showcase the same track length, the two tracks from a driving standpoint are night and day. To better aid Balcaen for her fifth ARCA Menards Series start of the season, she has been readily utilizing the tools available to her.
“I have been competing on iRacing, studying video - both past race footage and in-car (camera) and even also evaluating my prior performance from Kansas finding the areas on which I can improve on and be able to apply that to Charlotte,” Balcaen explained.
“It’s going to be a much tighter field I think on Friday compared to Kansas, so it’s important that I take all the resources available to me so when practice does get underway on Friday, I already know what to expect. Hopefully, that will allow us to dial in our No. 30 ICON Direct Ford Fusion and post a good lap to start as close to the front as possible.”
As far as the race, Balcaen believes her Rette Jones Racing No. 30 ICON Direct Ford Fusion can contend for another top-10 finish or better.
“I would like another top-10 at Charlotte but I am now hungry for that first top-five effort,” sounded
Balcaen. “As usual I want to be able to run all the laps, keep the car clean, be competitive and keep learning and progressing.”
For crew chief and co-team owner Rette, he is confident that his rookie driver will continue to adapt and find her groove and continue an upward pace in her ARCA Menards Series quest.
“I was thrilled with Amber’s efforts at Kansas,” offered Rette. “It can be difficult to get comfortable at an incredibly fast track like Kansas, but she did well and continued to make huge strives from the start of practice until the checkered flag flew.
“Charlotte is a challenging track, but I feel if Amber is able to take that mindset she hoisted at Kansas, she’ll be able to adapt to the different driving style that Charlotte requires and find herself in a good rhythm that I hope will lead to an astounding finish on Friday night.”
ICON Direct will continue to adorn the primary positions on Balcaen’s race car in their fourth 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. 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 Charlotte, Balcaen sits seventh in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, nine points out of fifth and 46 markers in the arrears to championship leader Nick Sanchez.
For more on Amber Balcaen, please visit amberbalcaenracing.com, like her on Facebook (AmberBalcaenRacing) and follow her on Instagram (@amberbalcaen10) and Twitter (@amberbalcaen10).
For more on Rette Jones Racing, please visit RetteJonesRacing.com, like them on Facebook (Rette Jones Racing) or follow them on Instagram (@RetteJones30) and Twitter (@RetteJones30).
The General Tire 150 (100 laps | 150 miles) is the fifth of 20 races on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule. A combined practice and qualifying session begins on Friday, May 27, 2022, from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 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 6:00 p.m. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (ET).