MILLVILLE, New Jersey –Determined to rebound from a disappointing result at Memphis (Tenn.) International Raceway two weeks ago, Rette Jones Racing (RJR) and Grant Quinlan are hoping to produce a boomerang comeback in Saturday’s JustDrive.com 125 at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
While the Mooresville, N.C.-based team narrowly missed a top-10 finish last year in the Garden State after falling victim to a mechanical failure, the team certainly knows their way around the 2.25-mile course after development driver Dominque Van Wieringen qualified well, led 10 laps and contended for the win before being shuffled back to fifth in the final laps of 2016.
Two years later, the team is ready to rekindle their road course magic and deliver a worthy performance in the seventh race of the season.
For Canadian standout Quinlan, it’s an opportunity to better his eighth-place performance last year at NJMP, the only K&N East race he participated in 2017.
“Memphis is behind us and I’m ready to go for New Jersey this weekend,” said Quinlan, driver of the No. 30 Superior Tool & Mold Ford Fusion. “Even though I’ve grown up on the short tracks, I’m quickly becoming a fan of road racing. It’s a lot of fun.
“It’s even more fun when a team like Rette Jones Racing brings fast cars to the table. We had a good car last year. We didn’t qualify where we wanted too, but we made significant gains during the race and ended up with a top-10 finish in Mark (Rette’s) satellite car.
“This weekend – it’s about finishing better. Better than Memphis and better than New Jersey last year. I know we can do it. I just hope luck is on our side.”
Rette knows it’s important for his team to shake-off their Memphis performance and regroup with a positive outlook for New Jersey and the remainder of the season.
“We had some speed at Memphis, just couldn’t put it all together for the finish,” admitted Rette. “I’m proud of my guys for their relentless attitude, but we know that we need to start racking up some good finishes – because it’s only going to give us the momentum we need for the summer and fall stretch.
“New Jersey is a neat road course with some unique elevation and a long frontstretch. You need to have finesse and speed. You must be able to get the car to rotate through the corners but carry the speed off the last corner down the straightaway and into Turn 1.
“I know where we need to be and we’re going back to our setup from 2016 and I think that will give us a winning combination for Saturday’s race.”
When it comes to Quinlan at the 14-turn road course, the confidence in him is at an all-time high.
“Grant continues to showcase his ability every time he gets behind the wheel of a race car,” Rette explained. “Even though we don’t always get the finishes we’re capable of or deserve, he’s maturing into a smart and competitive race car driver.
“That maturity paid off last year at New Jersey and should pay off again this weekend. The guys have busted their tails on this race car and I’m pretty stoked about our chances actually.”
Rette Jones Racing announced last week their alliance with Danny Watts Racing. While the part-time team isn’t competing at New Jersey this weekend, Rette knows the collaboration with the team and phenom driver Spencer Davis will pay dividends when they return.
The two parties agreed to a technical and setup partnership that has enhanced the performance of the No. 82 Chevrolet in K&N East competition this season.
Rette expects that relationship only to continue to strengthen as the season marches on.
“We’re proud of our new relationship with Danny Watts Racing,” added Rette. “Spencer, Danny and the entire team are gifted people who have a heart and passion for racing and most of all they want to succeed.
“We worked with each other for a couple of races and the results were immediate. I’m glad we’re expanding our portfolio to outside our company as it shows our commitment to putting working race cars on the track.”
In addition to Superior Tool & Mold, JRI Shocks, Quinlan Excavating and Contracting, Huntilar Corp., Goodridge Fluid Transfer Systems, Ford Performance and Jones Group International will serve as associate marketing partners for Saturday evening’s 55-lap showdown.
Quinlan, 19, has 11 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts to his credit with a career-best second place finish at Columbus Motor Speedway in his series debut in 2015. Overall, he has tallied one pole, two top-five and five top-10 finishes.
The JustDrive.com 125 (55 laps | 126.5 miles) is the seventh of 14 races on the 2018 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule. Practice begins for the one-day show on Sat., June 16 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 2:30 p.m. The race will take the green flag just after 6:00 p.m. that afternoon. The event will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on NBC Sports Network with an air date on Mon., June 18 a soon-to-be-announced time.