Justin Fontaine enthusiastic about Chicagoland return
Despite the outcome of last weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Gateway (Ill.) Motorsports Park, rookie Justin Fontaine (@driverFontaine) heads to Chicagoland Speedway looking to finish what they started last week, in this Friday night’s Overton’s 225.
After delivering a strong top-15 finish nearly two weeks ago at Iowa Speedway, the North Carolinian invaded Gateway looking to gain momentum during a four-race stretch of Truck Series competition.
While it took some time for Fontaine to get adjusted to the track’s unique 1.25-mile layout during the Villa Lighting delivers the Eaton 200 presented by CK Power, the 20-year-old drove his No. 45 ProMATIC Chevrolet inside the top-10, before being a victim of circumstances late in the race.
Fontaine was one of several trucks who lost control in an oil-downed track, abruptly ending the team’s night.
Still, Fontaine knows that his Statesville, N.C.-based team is bringing competitive trucks to the track and looks to showcase that again in the Windy City.
Even though Gateway was disappointing from a finishing standpoint, that's behind us," said Fontaine. "We overcame a lot and used track position to put ourselves in the top-10 and we stayed there. We can't control another truck suffering a mechanical failure and oiling the track down.
“It just made me as a driver and my Niece Motorsports team as a group more determined to go back to the shop and get ready for Chicagoland and bounce back.”
For a while, the former ARCA Racing Series competitor has circled the 1.5-mile speedway of Chicagoland on his calendar. Last year, Fontaine made one of 13 ARCA starts at the Joliet, Ill. race track where he showed vast improvement in mile-and-a-half competition – scoring a solid top-15 result.
In addition to the ARCA race, Fontaine also competed in the Truck Series race for Niece Motorsports last September earning a solid 17th-place result.
This weekend, however, Fontaine says it will be hard to settle for anything less than a top-10 run.
"I really took a liking to Chicagoland," offered Fontaine, who has scored two top-10 finishes thus far this season. "I learned a lot there last year in an ARCA car and I'm hopeful that I can continue that curve this weekend in a truck."
“One of our strengths this year has been on the intermediate tracks and I’m eager to see what we can accomplish on Friday night.”
Closing in on the halfway mark of the Truck Series schedule, Fontaine says there’s still a lot to be accomplished this season but is thankful for all 1,308 laps he’s turned so far.
“We have a lot to be proud about,” added Fontaine. “Sure, we’ve had some growing pains, but that can happen with anyone and anywhere. The constant support system from my Niece Motorsports team keeps me going strong, knowing that they are doing everything in their power to bring me a competitive No. 45 ProMATIC Automation Chevrolet each week.
“Chicagoland will be no different and I look forward to the new challenges it will bring in a truck. By the end of the night, I hope we’ve conquered the challenges with our third top-10 of 2018.”
After 10 races, Fontaine sits 17th in the series’ standings. He carries an average finish of 20.0 entering Chicagoland. The Asheville, N.C. native earned a career-best ninth place result at Las Vegas in March.
In addition to a full-time NASCAR driver, Fontaine just finished his freshman year as a student at the University of North Carolina (Charlotte), where he is pursuing a business degree.
For more on Justin Fontaine, please visit JustinFontaine.com, like his Facebook page (Justin Fontaine) or follow him on Twitter @driverFontaine. The Overton’s 225 (150 laps | 225 miles) is the 11th of 23 races on the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck schedule. Practice begins on Thurs., June 28 from 4:30 p.m. – 5:20 p.m., while final practice is set for 6:35 p.m. – 7:25 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Fri., June 29 beginning at 4:40 p.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 8:00 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Central).
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