Max Gutiérrez leads ARCA Menards Series East charge to Five Flags

Friday, Feb 26 548

Rette Jones Racing development driver Max Gutiérrez is still gleaming after picking up a thrilling victory in the Jeep Beach 175 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, but the ARCA Menards Series East rookie driver knows once he puts on his helmet this weekend at Five Flags (Fla.) Speedway, it will be time to put the joyous emotions aside and concentrate.

Not only is Gutiérrez focused on producing back-to-back ARCA East victories for Rette Jones Racing, but he is determined to protect his points lead ahead of Saturday’s Pensacola 200 presented by INSPECTRA.

“It has been a few good weeks,” explained Gutiérrez who returned home to Mexico shortly after the victory at New Smyrna.

“It has been fun to celebrate the win with family, friends and my partners – but as the days approach to Five Flags, I realize it’s time to be thankful for the blessings of New Smyrna but get focused on the job ahead this weekend.”

Attending school, Gutiérrez has had to rely on video and international texting platforms to communicate with crew chief and co-owner Mark Rette about the team’s plan for the second ARCA Menards Series East race of 2021.

While Gutiérrez does have laps at Five Flags from last October, the former NASCAR Mexico Challenge Series champion knows a tall task awaits him for practice on Saturday afternoon.

“I have laps at Five Flags, but we had some problems there last year. The track is very demanding and unfortunately, we didn’t have a balanced race car which made it a challenging race.

“Thankfully, I’ve been able to talk to Mark and the team a lot over the past couple of weeks. He has helped me with a lot of my questions and even given me some homework to look over.

“Practice will be super important and from there it’s putting up another good lap in qualifying and being at the right place at the right time when it comes to the checked flag.”

With just a three-point gap over Sammy Smith in the ARCA Menards Series East champion standings, Gutiérrez realizes with a win in the bank, the bigger picture is a priority.

“We want to win again, but if that opportunity doesn’t present itself, we don’t need to put ourselves in a spot where we give points away and take us out of the championship. It’s only race two of eight, but we are points racing. Hopefully, we leave Pensacola on Saturday night with the points lead still intact.”

Set for his third career ARCA East start, Gutiérrez knows without support, this weekend would not be possible.

“I cannot thank my partners TOUGHBUILT, TekNekk, Telcel (Jimmy Morales) and Avaya enough for this chance to fight for another win and of course for Rette Jones Racing for the opportunity to drive their race cars.

“We had a lot of fun at New Smyrna and I’d love to have a repeat on Saturday night.”

Rette says he’s proud of Gutiérrez’s initiatives and believes they can be in the hunt for the third career win for RJR.

“Max had never been to New Smyrna before the end of January and look what we did two weeks ago,” added Rette. “I think Max surprised a lot of people in qualifying – with a front row start and only added to it with an exclamation point with the win.

“Hopefully, we can make it double exclamation points this weekend.”

RJR is co-owned by Canadian entrepreneur and former race car driver Terry Jones.

The Pensacola 200 presented by INSPECTRA (200 laps | 100 miles) is the second of eight races on the 2021 ARCA Menards Series East schedule. Practice begins for the one-day show on Saturday, February 27 from 12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 2:30 p.m. The event will take the green flag just after 5:00 p.m. with live television coverage on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. All times are local (CT).

The event will be rebroadcasted on a tape-delayed basis on NBCSN on Thurs., Mar. 4, 2021, at 4:00 p.m. ET.

For more on Max Gutiérrez, please visit, like him on Facebook (Max Gutierrez Racing) or follow him on Instagram (@maxgutierrezmx).

For more on Rette Jones Racing, please visit, like them on Facebook (Rette Jones Racing) or follow them on Twitter (@RetteJones30).