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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Amber Balcaen fights through injury, moves into third place in the championship standings

Amber Balcaen secured her third top-ten finish of the season in the ARCA Menards Series and climbed to third in the championship standings following a remarkable run at Kansas Speedway where she competed with a broken left foot.

Amber Balcaen, Venturini Motorsports #22 ICON Direct Toyota, ARCA Menards Series 2024, Kansas Speedway
Photo credits: Venturini Motorsports

Amber Balcaen secured her third top-ten finish of the season in the ARCA Menards Series and climbed to the third place in the championship standings, five rounds into the season.

Her run at Kansas Speedway was a particularly remarkable one, coming only a week after an accident sustained at Dover Motor Speedway that left her with a broken left foot.

While she was on course to yet another strong result, Balcaen was in fact forced to take evasive action when a car just in front of her crashed and, left with nowhere to go, her car veered towards the inside wall, hitting the barrier hard. The Canadian racer sustained a broken foot in the incident, but was cleared to drive with a carbon insert in her racing boot for protection.

Amber therefore drove the entire race meeting at Kansas in challenging circumstances which nevertheless never discouraged the talented driver of the #22 ICON Direct Toyota, committed to continue her consistent run at the start of the championship and maximize the point opportunities.

And indeed Balcaen was able to deliver a stellar performance at the ARCA Menards Tide 150 race, finishing in the top ten in every session starting from a P8 in practice and a sixth place in qualifying on Saturday morning, which set the tone for the 100-lap race in the afternoon.

The Venturini Motorsports driver was off to a good start, but lost a few places once a car ahead slowed down and held her up. It would only take a couple of laps for Balcaen to make up for the lost ground and she climbed back up to eighth, running within the top ten for the entire, uninterrupted first part of the race, before the mid-race caution.

Amber took to the pitlane for a new set of tires and fuel, and continued to run fast laps in the top ten at the restart. She could get back on the lead lap with 20 laps to go, when a caution neutralized the race and gave her the opportunity for the pass-around – although she would then have used tires against the rest of the field at the restart.

In the closing stages, Balcaen held on brilliantly and took the chequered flag in eighth place and on the lead lap, overcoming adversities and battling through pain to score crucial points: “My foot is throbbing right now,” said Balcaen at the end of the race. “I didn’t really notice it during the race, other than on the restarts. I had to use the left foot to keep a little pressure on the brake and make sure we kept the RPMs up."

"But it was a decent day for coming back with a broken foot", she continued. "Top ten isn’t bad; I really wanted that top five today but we had some tough competition. We made the right changes during the pit-stop, and are heading the right way. So now I just need to let my foot heal and keep getting better.”

Now third in the championship standings after five races, the Shift Up Now athlete is only 11 points behind current leader Andrés Pérez de Lara.

She will now have a couple of weeks to recover, before heading to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the General Tire 150 on 24th May.



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