PENSACOLA, Fla.: 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.
About TOUGHBUILT Industries Inc.:
TOUGHBUILT is an advanced product design, manufacturer and distributor with emphasis on innovative products. Currently focused on tools and other accessories for the professional and do-it-yourself construction industries.
We market and distribute various home improvement and construction product lines for both the do-it-yourself and professional markets under the TOUGHBUILT brand name, within the global multibillion-dollar per year tool market industry. All of our products are designed by our in-house design team.
Since launching product sales in 2013, we have experienced significant annual sales growth.
Our current product line includes three major categories, with several additional categories in various stages of development, consisting of Soft Goods & Kneepads and Sawhorses & Work Products.
Our mission is to provide products to the building and home improvement communities that are innovative, of superior quality derived in part from enlightened creativity for our end users while enhancing performance, improving well-being and building high brand loyalty.
Additional information about the company is available at: toughbuilt.com.
About Rette Jones Racing:
Headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina, Rette Jones Racing (RJR) was founded in 2015 with the intent of building a successful racing operation built around the fundamentals of hard work and a never give up attitude.
Owned by racers Terry Jones and Mark Rette, RJR plan to field a full-time entry in 2021 in the ARCA Menards Series East, while also hopeful to field vehicles in the ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS).
The winning ARCA East team also offers technical and setup intel as part of its technical alliance partnership program.