Shift Up Now athlete Amber Balcaen has secured a full-time drive with top-team Venturini Motorsports in ARCA Menards Series.
Amber Balcaen is poised to return to the ARCA Menards Series in a full time drive with top-team Venturini Motorsports, following a three-event campaign in 2023 that included an epic run at the Daytona season opener.
Balcaen, a Shift Up Now athlete, will drive the #22 Toyota Camry, with ICON Direct serving as her primary sponsor. The third-generation driver from Winnipeg, Canada, completed her first full season in ARCA in 2022, conquering six top ten finishes - with a personal best of seventh at Charlotte. She finished her rookie season in seventh place in the drivers' standings, impressing for her performances.
In 2023, she moved from Rette Jones Racing to Venturini Motorsports, in a three race program that included appearances at Daytona, Talladega and Kansas Speedway.
Balcaen was second by 4 thousandths of a second out of a 61 car field in the 2023 Daytona pre-race test - and she continued to show great speed throughout the weekend, but a technical issue in qualifying put the Canadian at the tail-end of the 39-car starting grid.
Nevertheless, Balcaen was the protagonist of an incredible recovery drive and soon made her way up to the front running positions, where she would run for most of the race. Up into third at one point, she fought for the win in the final 10 laps, but lost power steering with four laps to go and held the outside line to finish sixth.
Two further runs at Talladega and Kansas were more unfortunate - and funding didn't allow her to return behind the wheel until the end of the year. She would then make her debut in a one-off round in Canada's NASCAR Pinty's Series.
The 31-year-old is now set for a full time campaign in 2024 - and having proved her speed despite the limited track time, Balcaen could be a real challenger for the ARCA title.
“This year the goal is to win races and win a championship,” Balcaen commented.
Balcaen will team up with Venturini Motorsports teammate Kris Wright as a full-season entries, starting from the BRANDT 200 curtain-raiser at Daytona International Speedway on February 17th.