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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Amber Balcaen secures second top-10 in 3 races

Running in the leading group for the duration of the General Tire 200 at Talladega, Amber Balcaen came within one position of a career best result. However, this finish elevated the Canadian driver into fourth place of the overall standings.

Amber Balcaen, #22 ICON Direct Venturini Motorsports Toyota, 2024 ARCA Menards Series, Talladega
Photo credits: Lee Wallace

Amber Balcaen continued her impressive start to the ARCA Menards Series season at Talladega. Running in the leading group for the duration of the race, Balcaen came within one position of a career best result. However, this finish elevated the Canadian driver into fourth place in the overall standings.

Following a three-event campaign in 2023, Balcaen was able to sign a deal with top-team Venturini Motorsports for a full 2024 season - which started with a remarkable run at the Daytona season opener, where Balcaen recovered from two laps down to ultimately finish ninth. It wasn't the first time that the Canadian impressed with such epic drives, but her full time seat now puts her in a strong position for the overall championship.

While she just missed out on another top ten in the second round at Phoenix Raceway - in a race shortened by a thunderstorm which nevertheless saw the driver of the #22 ICON Direct-sponsored Toyota finishing 15th out of a 40 car field - Balcaen's consistency meant that she kept climbing the order in the drivers' standings ahead of the third round at Talladega, one of her favourite tracks.

Balcaen ran in the top five in Friday's practice session, where drivers only had six laps to get up to speed at the 2.66-mile trioval. The event format, though, featured no qualifying session and therefore Balcaen would have to start from P24 on owners points.

Amber moved up consistently in the opening stages of the General Tire 200 and, once reached the top ten in the first ten laps, she ran with the leading pack for most of the first half of the 76 lap race. A caution mid way-through the race for the stricken car of Lavar Scott gave the opportunity to pit and restart from tenth with 30 laps to go.

Balcaen made her way forward to seventh place, but the top five slowly opened a gap, as the car in front struggled to stick with the front group and created a separation.

Without a car behind to push and a car in front for the draft, she eventually found herself leading the second pack, and with no more cautions until the end, she had little chances to catch back up the top five.

Nevertheless, another very strong run gained her seventh place, resulting in her second top-10 out of three rounds and the best finish of the season to date - one position away from a career best in the ARCA Menards Series.

“I’m glad we got another top-ten finish,” said Balcaen. “I obviously wanted the win but advancing from twenty-fourth to seventh is still a solid finish. We tried to make a move earlier to take the lead but the second lane was not able to build momentum like the bottom one. I needed a lot more help to make any kind of moves."

“I was also surprised how different Talladega raced this year, versus Daytona", she explained. "The safest bet was to stay on the bottom in the lead draft with someone behind you. No one was able to form lines up top like we were able to at Daytona. But it was still a great, clean race, and overall a good points day as well. We currently sit fourth in the points, and only six points out of the lead."

Now fourth in the drivers' championship standings, the Shift Up Now athlete now aims to carry momentum into the fourth round at Dover Motor Speedway, where she will return to the track in just a few days' time for the General Tire 150 on April 26th.



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