DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – With Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 just days away, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Rookie of the Year candidate Justin Fontaine has plenty of emotions heading to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Fontaine, a native of Asheville, N.C. will return to the 2.5-mile superspeedway for the first time since being injured in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season-opener last Feb., where a late race crash broke his back and left him on the sidelines for nearly three months.
On the other hand, Fontaine is upbeat about heading to the “World Center of Racing” as a full-time driver in the Truck Series for Niece Motorsports.
“I sure have a lot of emotions this week,” said Fontaine who earned a 13th-place finish last year at Daytona, despite the ARCA crash. “My first memories of Daytona aren’t good ones, but I love everything this place stands for, including making dreams come true.
“It would have never crossed my mind that I would be heading to Daytona a year after my tumultuous ordeal in the ARCA Series. Though, the Truck Series race with Niece Motorsports is a chance for redemption for me and my team.
“I plan to deliver.”
Endorsing Fontaine for his Truck Series debut at Daytona is longtime supporter ProMATIC Automation.
ProMATIC Automation Inc. specializes in the design and build of custom factory automation equipment.
With complete in-house capabilities of design, programming, fabrication, machining, electrical and mechanical assembly, ProMATIC can manage project resources and coordinate manufacturing efforts to provide quality, on-time automation project implementation.
ProMATIC Automation, Inc. has extensive experience in the integration of high-level automation technologies like robotics, laser, vision, and dispensing systems along with many years of combined experience in the design and machining of custom manufactured components.
“It means so much for me to have the support of ProMATIC Automation for my Truck Series debut at Daytona,” added Fontaine. “It’s a big deal to me. They stood right beside me through the good and bad last year.
“Daytona is a place where the unexpected can happen. Good or bad. Your night could be over on Lap 2 like we saw last year – or the race grind can spawn first-time winners. That sure would be awesome.”
Win or not, Fontaine says it’s important for his Niece Motorsports team led by Darrell Morrow to leave the first race of the year on a positive footing.
“It’s a long season,” added Fontaine. “I certainly have a lot to learn, but if we can come out of Daytona with a finish we can all be content with, then it will give us the momentum to head to Atlanta and Las Vegas and hope to dial in some more good finishes.
“From there we can work on the rest of the year.”
There’s one more thing that Fontaine is looking forward to at Daytona.
“I’ll get to race against my cousin Chris Fontaine this Friday night and that’s pretty cool,” said Fontaine. “We’ve had the chance to speak on occasion last year at the race track, but now we’ll have that opportunity to race against one another and maybe even draft together during the race.
“Fontaine versus Fontaine, this could be good,” he chuckled.
The NextEra Energy Resources 250 (100 laps / 250 miles) is the first of 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on the 2018 schedule. Practice begins on Thurs, Feb. 15 from 2:00 p.m. – 2:55 p.m. A final practice session is set for 4:00 p.m. – 4:55 p.m. Qualifying is set for race day, Fri., Feb. 16 beginning at 4:30 p.m. The 32-truck field will take the green flag shortly after 7:30 p.m. with live coverage on FOX Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network (Radio) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Satellite Radio, Channel 90).