There is no shade in revealing that the months of June and July were a struggle for the driver of the No. 30 ICON Direct Ford Fusion and while the team’s rough patch could easily be chalked up to bad luck, the team chooses to forget the past and instead focus on the upcoming 100-lap race as an opportunity to reset their 2022 season.
“We have no choice but to look out the windshield and focus forward,” said Balcaen.
“Everyone knows there has to be some light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully that arrives this weekend in Michigan.
“Without question – our Rette Jones Racing team has showcased speed in our race cars, but this stretch of tough finishes has certainly played havoc with our momentum and has caused some frustration too along the way.
“The faith in my team and the support from our partners is the juice that keeps me propelling forward with the best positive attitude that I can bring to the track as a driver and I know my Rette Jones Racing team feels the same way.
“Hopefully, my ARCA debut at Michigan is kinder to us in more ways than one.”
Balcaen is hoping that her recent pace at the speedway of Pocono Raceway will carry over to Michigan, a demanding two-mile oval where speeds can exceed more than 200 miles per hour.
“I know Michigan is one of the fastest race tracks that we compete outside of Daytona and Talladega, so there is going to be a challenge in adapting to the speed, but I feel comfortable with the leadership from Mark (Rette) and the rest of the RJR crew I can quickly find my footing in practice and quickly apply what we learn to qualify and then the race.
“I am really excited to get back to a big track because I feel that’s where I excel as a driver on the larger tracks. “I just hope our bad luck streak is over so we can show people what are Rette Jones Racing team is really capable of.”
When it comes to her goal of finishing the race on Saturday afternoon, seeing the checked flag would be a victory itself after suffering did not finish in three of the last four events.
“Yeah, I’d like nothing more than to get ourselves back in the top-10 on Saturday and take that checked flag,” added Balcaen. “I know that Michigan is going to be a competitive race, but I think we have shown that no matter the type of race track that we have the speed to run inside the top-10 and Pocono was a perfect example of that.
“If we cannot get ourselves back in the top-10, see the checked flag would be huge for us in the momentum department and then we can just plug away and see what the road course at Watkins Glen and then The Milwaukee Mile delivers later this month.”
For crew chief and co-team owner Mark Rette, he is confident that his rookie driver will continue to adapt and rebound at Michigan International Speedway.
“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, including last weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway and press forward with a positive attitude and focus on making the most out of our Michigan race this weekend.”
ICON Direct will continue to adorn the primary positions on Balcaen’s race car in their 12th 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 Michigan, Balcaen sits sixth in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings, 28 points out of fourth and 101 markers in the arrears to championship leader Rajah Caruth.
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 Henry Ford Health 200 (100 laps | 200 miles) is the 12th of 20 races on the 2022 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins on Saturday, August 6, 2022, from 10:45 am to 11:20 am General Tire pole qualifying kicks off at 11:30 am The event will be televised live on MAVTV and FloRacing beginning at 6:30 pm ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (ET).