Season-Best Finish for Balcaen at Talladega

April 23, 2024

Shift Up Now Athlete Amber Balcaen earned a P7 finish in the General Tire 200 at Talladega Super Speedway on April 20, 2024. This marked her second top-ten finish in just three ARCA Menards Series races so far, and placed her fourth in the drivers’ standings.

Driving the Icon Direct No. 22 Toyota for Venturini Motorsports, Balcaen was ready for the 76- lap competition on one of her favorite race tracks.

Despite a shortened practice session on Friday, where drivers were only allowed six laps to get up to speed, Balcaen got to work and ran the fifth-fastest lap. However at this event, instead of qualifying, the starting lineup for the race was set by owner’s points. This meant Balcaen would start P24.

Saturday’s race on the 2.66-mile oval began at 12:30 p.m. ET under perfect racing conditions, with an overcast sky and no rain. Early on, Balcaen steadily advanced forward through the field. As she moved into the P7 position, the front pack of cars created separation. The tail car of the lead draft struggled to stick with the front group, causing some of the stronger cars in the field to fall off.

Balcaen was one of the lead cars of the second pack. She noted that she needed a car behind to push and a car ahead to be “sandwiched in the draft,” otherwise it was tough to hold on and pass. Nonetheless, she held her P7 position until the checkered flag fell.

“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. 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.

"It gives us good momentum going into Dover. I’m proud of my entire Venturini team for putting together a great car and I am extremely thankful to have the support from Icon Direct.”

Balcaen and the ARCA Menards Series head to Delaware this weekend for the General Tire 150 at Dover Motor Speedway on Friday, April 26, 2024.

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