Max Gutiérrez leads ARCA Menards Series East charge to Five Flags

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.

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

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

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.

Mexico City’s Max Gutierrez Looks for Two-in-a-Row to Start 2021 at Five Flags Speedway

It was a finish everyone anticipated, but no one expected.

Headed into turn three on the final lap of the season-opening ARCA Menards Series East race at New Smyrna Speedway, everyone anticipated contact between the leaders. Taylor Gray had led three times on the night, including the previous five laps as he took the lead on a late-race restart. That restart involved a lot of contact into turn one, sending Mason Diaz around and out of contention.

The next restart, the final one of the race, put Sammy Smith next to Gray coming to the green. Smith had led 78 laps, leading through lap 171 when officials realigned him fourth in the field after a pit road violation. Smith had to be aggressive to get back to the lead because the race was now in overtime. He had two laps to make it happen.

Gray opened a slight lead at the drop of the green and held it for the first of the two overtime circuits. Smith closed the gap coming to the white flag. Everyone anticipated what came next.

Headed into turn three, Smith got to Gray’s bumper and made contact. That’s almost standard operating procedure in full-fendered stock car racing these days. The leader expects a shove from behind on the final lap if the driver in second place is close enough to make it happen. Smith was definitely close enough and carried a lot of speed going into the final two turns of the race. The contact didn’t just send Gray up the track, it sent Gray and Smith up the track and left the bottom groove at the high-banked half-mile wide open.

Enter NASCAR Mexico Challenge Series champion Max Gutierrez.

Driving for 2009 ARCA Menards Series championship-winning crew chief Mark Rette, Gutierrez pounced. He dove to the bottom of the track and filled the gap. When Smith and Gray came down the track, they bounced off Gutierrez, with all three making contact coming to the start-finish line. But that contact couldn’t stop Gutierrez’s momentum and he nipped Smith at the finish by 0.03 seconds, about the distance from the tip of the nose to the center of his front wheel.

Gutierrez, who still lives in Mexico and commutes to the United States to race, scored the first win of his career in the most surprising fashion.

“I can’t believe it,” Gutierrez said in victory lane. “I thought we were in a good place (third) on the last lap for the season championship. Then they started bumping for first and I decided to take it. I am very happy and proud of my team. That is a great way to start off this championship.”

The next step for Gutierrez will be in Saturday’s Pensacola 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions at Five Flags Speedway. It will be the fourth time the ARCA Menards Series East has raced at the half-mile oval that is the host of the prestigious Snowball Derby every December.

Current series team owner Ben Kennedy, who owns the No. 43 car driven by Daniel Dye, won in 2013 while Ben Rhodes, who recently won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway, won in 2014. Two-time champion Sam Mayer put an exclamation point on his 2020 championship season with his fifth win of the season in last year’s race.

For ticket information, visit FiveFlagsSpeedway.com or TrackEnterprises.com.

Practice for the Pensacola 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions is scheduled for 1:15 pm ET | 12:15 pm local, with General Tire Pole Qualifying to follow at 3:30 pm ET | 2:30 pm local. Saturday’s race will be streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold starting at 6 pm ET | 5 pm local. It will be rebroadcast on a tape-delayed basis on NBCSN on Thursday, March 4 at 4 pm ET.

Max Gutiérrez wins 2021 ARCA Menards Series East opener at New Smyrna

Max Gutiérrez wins 2021 ARCA Menards Series East opener at New Smyrna

Max Gutiérrez wins 2021 ARCA Menards Series East opener at New Smyrna

NEW SMYRNA, Fla: Taking advantage of a second overtime restart at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, 2020 NASCAR Mexico Challenge Series champion Max Gutiérrez stole the victory from Taylor Gray and Sammy Smith with a three-wide pass coming to the checkered flag in Monday night’s Jeep Beach 175.

Max Gutiérrez led only one lap in his Rette Jones Racing debut, but it was the most important as he edged Smith by 0.046 seconds for his first career ARCA Menards Series East victory in just his third series start.

Gutiérrez was announced last week as the driver of the No. 30 TOUGHBUILT Ford Fusion for car owners Mark Rette and Terry Jones for the entire 2021 ARCA Menards Series East season.

“I can’t believe it,” said a jubilant Gutiérrez in Victory Lane. “To qualify second was a surprise for me, but the last green-white-checkered, I was thinking OK (running third), this is good for the championship.

“But on the last corner there were battling for first and I saw an opportunity and I took it. I’m very happy and proud of the team and my sponsors TOUGHBUILT, Telcel, TekNekk and Avaya, I can’t thank them enough for everything. This is a great, great start toward the championship.”

Gutiérrez impressed earlier in the night by qualifying his Rette Jones Racing Ford Fusion on the front row. And despite a hiccup at the start of the race, Gutiérrez spent the entire race battling back from adversity that ultimately put him in a position to win his first career ARCA Menards Series East race even after a lengthy rain delay.

“I can’t believe it,” said team co-owner Rette. “I’m so proud of Max and his determination, not to mention the work by everyone on this Rette Jones Racing team. I knew we had a shot if we timed it right and Max did his job when it counted most and we’re winners again in the ARCA Menards Series East.

“Can’t wait for Five Flags later this month and an opportunity to race for the championship with Max and this Rette Jones Racing team.”

Next up for the ARCA Menards Series East is the Pensacola 200 at Five Flags (Fla.) Speedway on Sat. Feb. 27, 2021.

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

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

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.

Rette Jones Racing adjusts 2020 schedule

Rette Jones Racing adjusts 2020 schedule

MOORESVILLE, N.C.: Despite the reboot of the 2020 ARCA Menards Series East season this weekend at Toledo Speedway, the coronavirus pandemic has hit Rette Jones Racing particularly hard.

Slated to run Tristan Van Wieringen full-time in ARCA Menards Series East competition, COVID-19 has heavily impacted the luxury of being able to travel freely from Canada to the United States.

With restrictions and protocols in place, Rette Jones Racing has decided to withdraw from Saturday afternoon’s Herr’s Potato Chips 200 and reevaluate its program for the remainder of the 2020 season.

“We haven’t missed a race that we planned to attend since the formation of Rette Jones Racing five years ago,” said team co-owner Mark Rette. “It’s very unfortunate that the virus has impacted our team in a different way than most.

“With our sponsor primarily based in Canada, Tristian and co-owner Terry (Jones) residing in Canada, the fundamentals aren’t feasible and it we felt like it was best to just restructure our year the best we could and hope to get Tristan back in some races later in the year.

“With that being said, there is still plenty of races left, we have the cars and personnel ready to go should the opportunity arise for another driver to temporarily get in the seat until Tristan can return.

“We were looking forward to 2020, but now we’ll just regroup and come back when it’s appropriate.”

The latest on Rette Jones Racing is available at RetteJonesRacing.com, the team’s Facebook page or Twitter @RetteJones30.

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 will field entries in 2020 in the ARCA Menards Series East, ARCA Menards Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS).

The winning K&N team also offers technical and setup intel as part of a technical alliance partnership to Sam Hunt Racing and driver Colin Garrett.