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Hitting their stride at the end of the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) season, Rette Jones Racing (RJR) and Tyler Dippel head to New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway for Sunday night’s Jet Tools 150 looking to open the season with a popular win.
Dippel enters his third season of K&N East competition looking for his second career win and the first for Rette Jones Racing.
Last February, Dippel and the team had a strong car and contended for a top-five finish before being eliminated in a late-race accident.
The Wallkill, New York native though isn’t focused on what happened last February, but instead is prepared to look out the windshield of his No. 30 D and A Concrete Contractor / TYCAR Trenchless Technologies Ford Fusion.
“I’m looking forward to getting back in a K&N car this weekend, said Dippel who will make his 28th career start in Sunday night’s season-opener. “At the end of last season, we were really starting to put up some really good finishes and I think we can go to New Smyrna and pick up right where we left off.”
During the off-season, the RJR team put a huge emphasis on inspecting their Ford Fusions with a fine-tooth comb – knowing that Dippel needs all the components to contend for the K&N championship.
“The guys have worked hard since October and I’d like to repay them with a good finish on Sunday.
“It’s important for us to get off on the right foot at New Smyrna. It’s not an easy track though. You must carry the speed off the corner and prepare to make your move down the straightaways before you get back to the corner.
“My debut there in 2016 was pretty good and we had a shot at a good finish last year and got wiped out. Anything less than a top-five this weekend and I’d we’d all be disappointed. We’ll just have to see what happens.”
Team co-owner and crew chief Mark Rette says his Mooresville, N.C.-based team is ready for battle on Sunday night and believes the experience that Dippel has acquired will pay dividends.
“2018 should be a good year for us and we’re looking forward to New Smyrna with Tyler,” spoke Rette. “Tyler has a good track record there and he should have a strong No. 30 D and A Concrete Contractor / TYCAR Trenchless Technologies Ford to leave his mark.
"Hopefully, it’s in Victory Lane!”
In addition to D and A Concrete Contractor and TYCAR Trenchless Technologies serving as the title marketing partners for the opening round of the season, Rette Jones Racing also welcomes Jones Group International, J-AAR Excavating, Goodridge Fluid Transfer Systems and Russo’s Tinting as associate partners for the first short track race of 2017.
They join Ford Performance and JRI who join RJR as technical partners this season.
RJR is co-owned by Canadian entrepreneur and race car driver Terry Jones.
In 27 career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts, Dippel, 17, has earned one victory (Mobile Speedway, 2016), achieved three top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. The teenager has also 139 laps led in event competition.
The Jet Tools 150 (150 laps / 72 miles) is the first of 14 races on the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule. An optional practice run is open for teams on Saturday, February 10 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Official practice begins for the one-day show on Sunday, February 11 from 2:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in from 3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 5:05 p.m. The event will take the green flag just after 7:30 p.m. that night. The event will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on NBC Sports Network with a to-be-announced time and date.
For more information on Tyler Dippel, please check out TylerDippel.com, his Facebook page (Tyler Dippel Racing) or on Instagram @tylerdippel.
Dippel tweets too. Follow him @Tyler_Dippel.
The latest on Rette Jones Racing is available at RetteJonesRacing.com, the team’s Facebook page or Twitter @RetteJones30.
Rette Jones Racing development driver Grant Quinlan heads to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway this week for Saturday afternoon’s Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 driven by General Tire looking for a big finish in his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
Of course, Quinlan admits that his Rette Jones Racing team can’t fly under the radar this weekend after the team’s exceptional performance last February that left team co-owner Terry Jones with a career-best second place finish.
While Jones is taking the weekend off, he has given the steering wheel to a fellow Canadian driver hoping that he can pick up right where he left off and deliver RJR their first career ARCA victory.
“I’m feeling the jitterbugs, but I’m sure they’ll be gone by the time I climb in the car for practice on Thursday afternoon,” said Quinlan, a native of Maidstone, Ontario Canada.
“Daytona can be intimidating for anyone, especially a rookie like me, but thankfully I have a good team that is surrounded by veterans who have a lot of experience and should help make my ARCA debut a smooth one.”
Led by former championship crew chief Mark Rette, RJR participated in the sanctioning body’s open test session at the 2.5-mile speedway last month. While the team made steady gains during the two-day session, the 19-year-old says what his team did back at the shop since then should make them even better for Saturday afternoon’s 80-lap shootout.
“We were somewhat satisfied with our results at the test,” added Quinlan who hopes to run more ARCA races with Rette Jones Racing following Daytona. “Mark and the team kept making adjustments and with every change, we kept getting better.
“When it comes to a championship crew chief like Mark (Rette), he’s never going to be satisfied unless he’s at the top of the board. We made some good gains in the draft and when push comes to shove that’s where the speed will be most important.
“We’ll see how the cards fall and hope we can find our No. 30 Rette Jones Racing / International Tool & Mold Ford Fusion in contention when it counts the most.” Quinlan has made six NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts with RJR, including his most recent race at New Jersey Motorsports Park this past September where the Canadian delivered a solid eighth place finish. He is also a veteran of the ARCA / CRA Late Model Series.
Saturday, however, will be the biggest race of his career, thus far.
“We haven’t really set a goal for the race, yet,” added Quinlan. “A lot can happen man. One minute you could be at the front, the next you’re in the back and so on. A lot of Daytona seems to come down to luck and patience.
“I hope to have both. I know that my spotter is going to mean everything this weekend and I plan to spend a lot of time with him.”
Quinlan’s run in the Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 is the start of a busy weekend for the Mooresville, N.C.-based team. In addition to the ARCA race, RJR will also be competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season-opener the following night at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway with driver Tyler Dippel.
Dippel also turned laps during the open-test at Daytona in January in hopes of making his superspeedway debut in February 2019.
For Rette, another good weekend at Daytona could make all the difference in the world on how the team’s participation in the ARCA Racing Series shapes up for 2018.
“It’s great to have Grant back in one of our cars,” said Rette. “He did a really good job at the test and we’ve been thrashing on this Ford getting ready for battle this weekend.
“I think people are going to be really surprised by Grant’s demeanor and focus for Daytona. He wants to go out there and earn the respect of his peers and hopefully find himself with a shot for a good finish this weekend. We know that the stars really aligned last year to put us in a good position to win the race.
“It can happen again with Grant and even Tyler on Sunday in the K&N East race too. We’re just happy to be racing!”
While Rette will be busy with the team’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East program, Logan Yiengst who normally serves as the car chief on the K&N side will call the shots for Quinlan for his superspeedway debut.
Additionally, the team welcomes Huntilar Corp., a Pennsylvania-based construction company specializing in custom home building, townhouse developments and excavation who joins RJR as a new major associate marketing partner for the 2018 season.
“Logan is going to do a great job on Saturday,” added Rette. “He has all the experience he needs to showcase his potential as a crew chief in ARCA. And the addition of Huntilar just shows the growth of Rette Jones Racing and that’s very exciting.”
The Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 driven by General Tire (80 laps / 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Thurs., Feb. 8 with a two-hour session from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in on Fri., Feb. 9 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:30 p.m. The season-opener for the 66th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag on Sat., Feb. 10 shortly after 4:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities.
The latest on Rette Jones Racing is available at the team’s Facebook page, while also active on Twitter @RetteJones30.
Quinlan also tweets. Follow him @GQuinlan28.
13-time Formula 1 grand prix winner David Coulthard put in a stunning performance to eclipse 19 fellow superstars of motor sport and win the Race Of Champions for the second time on a thrilling afternoon of non-stop action and entertainment at Riyadh’s King Fahad International Stadium.
Following Team Germany’s triumph in last night’s ROC Nations Cup, all cooperation went out of the window today. The individual Race Of Champions pitted some of the world’s best drivers in a range of identical cars – including the Vuhl 05 ROC Edition, Ariel Atom Cup, Xtreme Pickup, Whelen NASCAR, KTM X-Bow Comp R and the ROC Car – on a purpose-built parallel track featuring ROC’s iconic crossover bridge.
On a sunny afternoon in Riyadh, the best-of-three Grand Final boiled down to a battle between two legends of motorsport. But in the end Coulthard saw off double World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg in two straight heats to become Champion of Champions for the second time.
Solberg had never been in the Race Of Champions Grand Final before. Coulthard, by contrast, won the Champion of Champions crown in 2014 in Barbados and reached the Grand Final at Wembley in 2008 when he was pipped by Sébastien Loeb. This time it was the Scotsman’s turn for more glory again.
Afterwards a delighted Coulthard said: “I had to work hard out there and my heart is beating hard now! So thanks to Petter for a great race. He’s a great sport and a great champion. When I went out of the ROC Nations Cup yesterday after winning just one race out of three my son switched off the TV because he thought ‘Daddy’s too old’ so I’m delighted to show him experience can be a good thing too… Today I pushed hard but it’s also about being clean. I touched the wall once over the course of the day but other than that I kept it on the track.
“It’s great to have been part of the first Race Of Champions here in Riyadh. It’s been a nice atmosphere and the people in the crowd have been treated to non-stop action. So thank you to Fredrik Johnsson and his team for yet another great event. To be honest I’m always surprised when Fredrik invites me because I don’t race any more, but I’m delighted when he does. The camaraderie with all the other drivers is special and we’ve had a wonderful welcome here.”
Solberg added: “First of all, congratulations to David. I was doing everything I could to win it, but it wasn’t quite enough today. David drove very well and he has the right mentality so this was very well deserved. He’s a better circuit driver than me, that’s for sure. I still like to be a bit more sideways! But I’m proud and happy to make it to the final against such a strong field.
“I’ve been coming to the Race Of Champions for many years. It’s incredible to get all these great drivers together and it was a great atmosphere again this time. So thank you to everyone watching in the stadium and around the world. We’ve been made to feel really welcome and the passion from everyone involved has been clear. Fredrik and his team have done a fantastic job. I always enjoy this event and I’ll be back…”
In the semi-finals, Coulthard beat ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen, who has been the Race Of Champions runner-up six times and still awaits his first ROC Champion of Champions crown. The other race saw the end of a spirited run by 2017 FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson, who was beaten by his rallycross team-mate Solberg.
Kristensen earlier avenged last year’s Grand Final defeat by putting out the reigning ROC Champion of Champions Juan Pablo Montoya in the quarter-finals. Coulthard defeated 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay to join him in the next round.
The quarter-finals proved an unhappy round for the American open-wheel specialists as 2017 IndyCar Champion Josef Newgarden crashed out to allow Kristoffersson an easy run through. Finally Solberg defeated Sweden’s FIA European F3 runner-up Joel Eriksson to complete the semi-final line-up.
The drivers were earlier split into four groups of four, battling for the right to take part in the knockout stages.
Montoya dominated Group A with three wins out of three, while Hunter-Reay pipped fellow Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves to the runner’s up spot in the group after a very tight finish in their heat. That meant the Brazilian – who made last night’s ROC Nations Cup final for Team Latin America – exited the tournament alongside Mexico’s European Le Mans Series Champion Memo Rojas.
Coulthard was the man on top in Group B, going through with a perfect record of three wins. He was joined in the quarter-finals by Kristensen on two wins. McLaren World’s Fastest Gamer Rudy van Buren failed to progress despite a fine win against 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Timo Bernhard. Following his victory in yesterday’s ROC Nations Cup for Team Germany, Bernhard couldn’t repeat the feat today and he also went out at this stage.
Group C was the tightest of them all, featuring three of the reigning champions from major motorsport series. In the end three drivers all ended up on two wins each, but Kristoffersson and Eriksson made it through on fastest lap times at the expense of 2017 DTM Champion René Rast, fresh from his triumph in the ROC Nations Cup. 2017 European F3 Champion Lando Norris suffered a crash in his first race and also failed to progress.
Solberg stormed through Group D with three victories, and he was joined in the final stages by Newgarden. ROC Factor Saudi Arabia winner Ahmed Bin Khanen won the battle of the home heroes against WRC2 Rally winner Yazeed Al-Rajhi, but it was not enough for either of them to stay in the competition.
Kicking off the afternoon’s action, eight of the drivers were matched up in pairs for a series of Round 1 play-offs. Yesterday’s inaugural eROC winner Enzo Bonito went out at this stage at the hands of fellow simracer van Buren. Abraham Calderon was defeated by fellow countryman Rojas while ROC Factor competitors Mansour Chebli and Khaled Al Qubaisi were also knocked out.
Earlier the drivers took part in the ROC Skills Challenge, a special course set up near the King Fahad International Stadium featuring chicanes, slaloms, 360° turns and parallel parking. There was an early triumph for World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson who came out on top, beating Juan Pablo Montoya into second place.
There was also a virtual competition featuring simracers from the inaugural eROC and some of the professional racers. Montoya’s team of Eriksson, Kristoffersson, Kevin Leaune and Brendon Leigh came out on top, defeating Coulthard’s crew of Rast, Newgarden, Enzo Bonito and Alexander Dornieden. The Colombian then beat Solberg in a simracing head-to-head for good measure…
Before the racing the drivers unfurled a banner in conjunction with the institute for advanced research into brain and spinal cord injuries ICM in honour of ROC’s absent friend (and six-time ROC Nations Cup winner) Michael Schumacher as he continues his recovery from his skiing accident.
Today’s action at Riyadh’s King Fahad International Stadium marks the end of ROC Riyadh. We hope you enjoyed this festival of motor sport and entertainment and we look forward to welcoming you back for our next event. Keep up with all the latest news throughout the year at www.raceofchampions.com, Race Of Champions on Facebook and @raceofchampions on Twitter.
As the calendar flips to February and IMSA teams set their sights on next month's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts race weekend, a trio of teams have had a chance to catch their breath and reflect on an especially busy January - and December - competing in both the inaugural IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda race at Daytona and the Rolex 24 At Daytona:
Three months after unveiling her 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards full season schedule the day has finally arrived for 20-year old rookie driver Natalie Decker.
Decker, driving for Toyota aligned Venturini Motorsports (VMS), kicks-off the new season this weekend in ARCA's premier season opening Lucas Oil 200 - Driven by General Tire event at Daytona International Speedway.
Driving VMS' flagship No.25 Toyota Camry, Decker's journey begins Saturday when the dynamic driver showcases sponsorship support from N/29 Capital Partners and YAMAHA Power Products during her highly anticipated Daytona debut.
Aiming for a national championship and rookie of the year honors, the popular Eagle River, WI driver is taking the extra attention in stride.
"This is a dream come true," says Natalie Decker.
"A year ago at this time I was back home in Wisconsin watching this race and working on trying to put a deal together to run a few ARCA races with Venturini Motorsports. Today I'm at Daytona with a full season ride, getting ready to compete in the biggest race of my career. It's just crazy."
"I've been preparing myself for this moment as long as I can remember. It's easy to get distracted with all the extra hype surrounding Daytona. But right now my only focus is doing my job. I'm really excited. VMS built me a fast Toyota and now it's time to drive it."
Decker received her first taste of Daytona's famed 2.5-mile track when she participated in last month's series open test. During the two-day session Decker impressed topping single car practice run speeds.
Making her Superspeedway debut at Daytona, Decker will rely on the guidance of veteran crew chief Dave Leiner and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series spotter Eddie D'Hondt.
Splashing onto the ARCA tour midway through the 2017 season, Decker made six series starts highlighted by two top-10 finishes and a career best seventh-place finish at Road America.
Decker, the only woman running this year's full season schedule will become just the fifth female in ARCA history to compete for a series driver championship, joining Shawna Robinson (’00), Christi Passmore (’03 and ’04), Milka Duno (’13) and Sarah Cornett-Ching (’15).
The Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire is the first of 20 races on the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Thurs., Feb. 8 from 4 - 6 p.m. EST. Final practice is Friday morning, Feb. 9 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Group qualifying is set for 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon. The Lucas Oil 200, which begins the 66th consecutive season for ARCA, is set to get the green flag at about 4:50 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10. The race is live on FS1 beginning at 4:30. ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring and chat throughout the entire weekend festivities.