Justin Fontaine looking to make most of Bristol Truck Series debut
Confident in the speed of his Niece Motorsports trucks this summer, Justin Fontaine (@driverFontaine) heads to Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) for Thursday night’s UNOH 200 looking to deliver his third top-10 finish of the season.
Last weekend at Michigan International Speedway, Fontaine felt he had one of the strongest No. 45 ProMATIC Automation Chevrolets he’s had this season – but a mishap in the early laps of Stage 2 set them back, but with their ‘never give up’ attitude, the group soldiered on to a 25th place finish.
While never giving up on his team or himself, Fontaine will embrace Thunder Valley, not only looking for a quick rebound, but hoping to earn the attention of his peers in his Bristol debut.
“I’m so proud of my guys on my Niece Motorsports team,” said Fontaine. “Even if we don’t have all the results to show for it, we’ve had a lot of fast trucks this summer. We are getting better and we’re making strides. We just don’t always get the right result.
“We had a great truck at Michigan, something capable of running inside the top-10, but had some trouble and couldn’t recover enough. The good thing is though – our team doesn’t get discouraged and instead we look for ways to pump each other up and focus on what’s next.
“Bristol is next and I’m ready.”
A long-time NASCAR fan before diving into making it a profession, Fontaine has always been a fan of the track’s tough demeanor and while the UNOH 200 serves as the final race of the regular season, Fontaine knows the midweek race has the ability to escalate the aggression as drivers fight for their lives.
“It’s going to be an exciting race,” offered Fontaine. “You’re going to have a lot of drivers on different agendas. From those focused on making it into the Playoffs, to those who are having an opportunity to showcase their ability and for us, it’s a chance for us to get some momentum on our side – while also looking at opportunities to pull off an upset.
“It’s Bristol. Things like that can happen. If we can’t win though, it’s important for us to get primed for a possibility to contend for our best finish together.”
With eight races left in his rookie season of Truck Series competition, Fontaine has set some reasonable expectations.
“I’d like to get ourselves some more top-10s – or even a top-five by Homestead,” he said. “I think if we keep bringing fast trucks to the race track and even find some luck on our side, the goals can be accomplished.
“When I look at some of the races this summer, I feel like we really turned some heads at Iowa Speedway and Gateway Motorsports Park in particular – even if we didn’t get the finish we were hoping for.
“I know it’s going to take some time for me to get up to speed at Bristol, but I believe I have great leadership in my crew chief Cody (Efaw) and that keeps me upbeat on any given weekend – even at places I’ve never been to. Bristol looks like it can be intimidating – but we just have to attack the track to the best of our ability.”
After 15 races, Fontaine sits 16th in the series’ standings. He carries an average finish of 19.9 entering Bristol. He earned a career-best ninth place result at Las Vegas in March.
In addition to a full-time NASCAR driver, Fontaine just completed 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 UNOH 200 (200 laps | 106.6 miles) is the 16th of 23 races on the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck schedule. Practice begins on Thurs., Aug. 16 from 9:05 a.m. – 9:55 a.m., while final practice is set for 11:05 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. Qualifying is set for later in the day beginning at 4:10 p.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 8:30 p.m. with live coverage on FOX, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Eastern).
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