On the strength of their first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) top-10 finish together last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Rette Jones Racing (RJR) and newcomer Tristian Van Wieringen (@TW1Stan) look to build on that effort in Friday night’s Casey’s General Stores 150 at Iowa Speedway.
In his New Hampshire debut, the K&N Pro Series East rookie showed patience and perseverance after qualifying 11th and used the caution free race to pick up two positions to finish ninth.
While the effort was solid for Van Wieringen in his second K&N start, the team is raising the bar in Friday night’s K&N East-West combination race at the 0.875-mile race track.
“New Hampshire was a good building block for us,” said Van Wieringen. “We didn’t have a lot of track time – but we together we definitely made gains. New Hampshire was hard to pass – so I was glad we were able to make the gains that we did and get our first top-10 finish together.
“We want more though.”
The Amherstburg, Ontario Canada native heads to Iowa Speedway looking to earn his first top-five finish in just his third series start. While clashing the East and West tours together will elevate the competition for the 150-lap race, Van Wieringen remains optimistic that his Durobyte Racing team can be a contender.
“The two worlds of K&N are going to collide this weekend and it’s going to be a tough show,” noted Van Wieringen. Mark (Rette, crew chief and co-owner) has prepped me as much as he can as to what to expect.
“I expect our No. 30 Durobyte Ford Fusion to be fast. It’s a track under a mile and I seem to excel at places like that. I know that there will be some learning for me during practice – but I’m confident that I can adapt quickly and put our team in the spotlight during qualifying and the race.
“With some luck and smart driving, I think a top-five finish is realistic for us on Friday night.”
Van Wieringen didn’t have to go far for advice on Iowa Speedway either.
Van Wieringen, 20, turned to his sister, Dominique, a former K&N East driver for Rette Jones Racing who delivered one of five top-10 finishes in 2016 at Iowa Speedway.
“Dominique has given me some good tips and she’s been a big help to me as I fight this adaption from late models to K&N cars,” Tristan Van Wieringen said. “Dominique has told me what to expect as far as track conditions and the driving line there.
“She’s been my biggest cheerleader – and I’m very thankful for that.”
Mark Rette says he’s happy with Van Wieringen’s progression from Thompson to New Hampshire and he feels that Iowa Speedway will be a good indicator of his driver’s comfort level.
“Iowa, I think is going to fit Tristan’s driving style well,” Rette said. “He’s learned a lot in a quick amount of time and he’s embraced it all. We’ve made progress from start to finish in his first two races and that’s all I can ask for.
“Iowa is a huge race – because of the combination of the two K&N Series, but I feel that challenge could fit into our hands. We’re confident and happy with the car we’re bringing to the race track.
“Once we get through practice and qualifying, the rest will be up to Tristan and we believe in him.
“Again, it may take us a couple races for Tristan to get to his full comfort zone with the K&N car, but once he settles in, I think he’s going to be fine.”
In addition to Durobyte, JRI Shocks, Huntilar Corp., Goodridge Fluid Transfer Systems, Ford Performance and Jones Group International will serve as associate marketing partners for Friday evening’s 150-lap showdown.
The Casey’s General Stores 150 (150 laps | 131.25 miles) is the 10th of 14 races on the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule. Practice begins for the one-day show on Fri., July 27 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. A final practice session is set from 3:15 p.m. – 3:55 p.m. Group qualifying is set for later at 5:00 p.m. with the race set to take the green flag two and a half hours later at 7:30 p.m. The event will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) on Thurs., Aug. 2 at 6:00 p.m. All times are local (Central).