With just three races remaining in the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season, Niece Motorsports rookie driver Justin Fontaine (@driverFontaine) returns to Texas Motor Speedway looking for a rematch in Friday night’s JAG Metals 350.
Intermediate racing has been one of Fontaine’s strengths this season, but the Asheville, N.C. native’s debut with the 1.5-mile speedway in June didn’t go as planned. Qualifying a solid 18th, Fontaine finished 30th after being involved in an early-race accident. Now, he returns to the Lone Star state eyeing one of his best performances of the year.
“I made a mistake in June,” Fontaine recalled. “But, making that mistake has helped me become a better driver this season, especially on the bigger tracks. I like Texas. Even though the pavement is still relatively new, and the groove isn’t very wide, the Truck Series puts on a good show and I don’t expect any different on Friday night.”
Knowing that in less than a month, Fontaine will step away from full-time competition to focus on his academics, the 21-year-old wants to use the final three-race stretch to not only show everyone what the Niece Motorsports equipment is capable of – but also give himself the satisfaction of knowing he left nothing on the table.
“The competition will ramp up these last three races,” Fontaine added. “There’s a championship on the line, drivers wanting to make a name for themselves and for me – wanting to go out on a high note. I’m proud of what we’ve built at Niece Motorsports this season with the No. 45 team.
“We’ve led some laps, finished inside the top-10 and had some memorable runs. We’ve only gotten better as the year has progressed and that’s comforting to me knowing that I contributed to it.”
For the final time this season, Fontaine will visit a track that he’s had prior experience and for a rookie driver that will prove to be beneficial – even with the limited laps during the race five months ago.
“Practice makes perfect, right?” Fontaine sounded. “I’ve never been to Phoenix or Homestead, so I don’t know what to expect for the final two races of the year. When it comes to Texas though – I have laps and that helps. My teammate Austin (Wayne Self) also has plenty of laps – so it’s reassuring that I can talk to him too about what my truck is doing or what to expect during the fall race.
“It’s not going to be as hot as it was in June, so I expect the weather to play a factor in the way the truck handles – but not anything I don’t think we can compensate for. I’m ready for Texas.”
After 20 races, Fontaine sits 16th in the series’ standings. He carries an average finish of 20.1 entering Texas. He earned a career-best ninth-place result at Las Vegas in March.
In addition to a full-time NASCAR driver, Fontaine just started his sophomore year as a student at the University of North Carolina (Charlotte), where he is pursuing a political science degree.
For more on Justin Fontaine, please visit JustinFontaine.com, like his Facebook page (Justin Fontaine) or follow him on Twitter @driverFontaine.
The JAG Metals 350 (147 laps | 220.5 miles) is the 21st of 23 races on the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck schedule. Practice begins on Thurs. Nov. 1 from 3:05 p.m. – 3:55 p.m., while final practice is set for 5:05 p.m. – 5:55 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Fri., Nov. 2 beginning at 3:10 p.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 7:30 p.m. with live coverage on FS1, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90). All times are local (Central).
Justin Fontaine PR