Story By: MARK RETTE / RETTE JONES RACING – WATKINS GLEN, NY – On the strength of three top-10 finishes in the last four NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKPSE) races, Rette Jones Racing (RJR) and driver Tyler Dippel invade Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International (WGI) looking to keep the momentum rolling in Friday afternoon’s Finger Lakes Wine Country 100.
Last weekend at Iowa Speedway, RJR and Dippel escaped the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West combination race with a ninth-place finish after suffering their eighth flat tire of the year early in the Casey’s General Stores 150.
Sheer determination from Dippel and his team allowed them to recover to net 13th in the combination rundown, but claim ninth overall representing the East Series class.
“Iowa Speedway was a little frustrating, but as a team we did our best to recover for a solid finish,” said Dippel. “We had a pretty good No. 30 TYCAR Trenchless Technologies / D and A Concrete Contractor Ford, but it was an extremely competitive race. All things considered, we were fortunate to post the finish we did.”
This weekend, the series heads to the Finger Lakes of New York for the first of two-road course in the final four races of 2017.
Not particularly classified as a road course expert, Dippel fared well in his Watkins Glen debut last year qualifying ninth and finishing seventh, one of his eight top-10 finishes of his rookie K&N East season.
This weekend, however, Dippel is eager to perform better and make significant gains in the championship standings.
“Watkins Glen is a very technical track, but I was really getting the hang of it towards the end of the race last year,” offered Dippel. “It’s definitely a place where you need to have rhythm. The key to success at Watkins Glen is getting through the gears and staying on the track.
“If I can do that on Friday afternoon, we should have another good finish for our Rette Jones Racing team.”
To prepare themselves for the upcoming race, RJR tested Dippel at the famed VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), where the team worked on balance, etiquette and rhythm. By the end of the day, the team was satisfied with their gains.
“The test went real good,” said Dippel. “The car we are taking this weekend is a purposefully built road course car, so it was important to shake the bugs out at VIR.
“We worked on a lot during the day and even though the track is way different than Watkins Glen, it was still good to get into that road course beat. I think Mark was pretty happy too.”
Dippel was right. Rette was happy.
“I was really pleased with the road course test,” said Rette. “Tyler did a good job giving feedback with this new car. We want to go to Watkins Glen this weekend and really put ourselves in a position for another top-five finish. Being able to test at another road course so close to the event gets us in that zone and I think we’ll be better prepared for Friday’s race.”
Helping guide Dippel around the 2.45-mile road course this weekend will be veteran Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series spotter Tab Boyd. Every weekend, Boyd spots for former Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano of Team Penske.
For the second time this season, Dippel will have a teammate. Logan Zimmerman Racing has formed an alliance with RJR for Friday’s Finger Lakes Wine Country 100 with driver Dylan Murry at the helm. Murry, a native of Cartersville, Ga. made his K&N East debut earlier this year at Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway finishing sixth after starting 15th. He’ll drive the No. 28 Turtle Wax Ford with crew chief Chad Kendrick calling the shots.
Through 10 races this season, Dippel, driver of the No. 30 TYCAR Trenchless Technologies Ford Fusion sits ninth in the championship standings, 113 points behind leader Harrison Burton.
In 24 career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts, Dippel, 17, has earned one victory (Mobile Speedway, 2016), achieved two top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. The teenager has also 139 laps led in event competition.
The Finger Lakes Wine Country 100 (41 laps / 100.45 miles) is the 11th of 14 races on the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule. Practice begins for the one-day show on Fri., Aug. 4 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:25 p.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:30 p.m. The race will take the green flag just after 4:45 p.m. later that afternoon. The event will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on NBC Sports Network with an air date on Thurs., Aug. 10 at 7:00 p.m. ET.