SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Rette Jones Racing Development (RJRD) and Austin Theriault Racing Development have jointly announced that 15-year-old Landen Lewis will make his ARCA Menards Series debut in the highly anticipated Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield) this Sunday, Aug. 22.
Lewis will drive the No. 2 L&A South / Lou Lou’s Waterfront Restaurant Toyota Camry prepared by RJR Development with several racing icons who have offered their advice to the Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, native.
Lewis graduates to the ARCA Menards Series on the strength of a successful career in Legends Cars, Super Trucks and Dirt Modified competition.
In Legend Car competition, the teenager has roared to 22 series victories while mastering 51 top-five finishes overall. He is also the most recent Winter Heat champion, winning a jaw-dropping nine of the 10 races.
Advancing to Dirt Modifieds driving for four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) champion Ron Hornaday Jr., Lewis has mastered five poles, six wins, eight second-place runs and 27 top-fives.
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Lewis is banking on his experience in Dirt Modifieds to help ease his transition to stock cars on dirt at the historic, one-mile clay oval at the Illinois State Fairgrounds with advice not only from Hornaday but racing icon Ken Schrader, a former ARCA Menards Series winner at Springfield and close friend of Hornaday.
“This is such an unbelievable opportunity,” said Lewis. “I can’t thank Rette Jones Racing, Austin (Theriault), the Hornaday family, Mr. Ken Schrader and everyone who has been incredibly helpful and instrumental in helping make my ARCA Menards Series debut possible.
“I don’t know what to expect on Sunday, but I have a ton of confidence thanks to all the advice from everyone around me. My goal is to have a smooth practice and an even better qualifying session and make progress during the 100-lap race.
“I know Mark (Rette) and the entire Rette Jones Racing Development team has been working hard on our No. 2 L&A South Toyota Camry, and I think a top-10 finish or better is definitely in our potential.”
Hornaday, a winner in ARCA Menards Series competition, says Lewis is ready for the opportunity that awaits him at the Springfield mile.
“I have been working with Landen since he was 12, and he reminds me a lot of myself when I was that young,” explained Hornaday. “He’s ambitious and eager to learn and always excels when given a new challenge. It’s awesome to work with Landen.
“I’m a true believer in order to be the best you must be hands-on and understand everything about your car, and Landen is always one of the first to jump in and help on his car and his teammates’ cars and always appreciates the things that people do for him.
“This is going to be awesome for Landen getting experience in a heavier car and continue his development to be a more well-rounded driver.”
Theriault, who has taken on a management role with Lewis, is the 2017 ARCA Menards Series champion. He earned a pole at Springfield in 2017 before finishing second to fellow ARCA champion Grant Enfinger.
“Landen is an aggressive-but-smart driver who I know can be successful at this level,” explained the eight-time ARCA winner. “Despite it being a big step for him, his previous dirt experience combined with the people who have mentored him along the way will allow him to adapt quickly to the opportunity that is before him.”
Rette, the team owner and an ARCA championship crew chief, is no stranger to working with a flow of young drivers. He hopes to guide Lewis to Victory Lane.
“I enjoy giving young drivers the chance to showcase their talents,” sounded Rette. “When Austin (Theriault) and Ron (Hornaday) spoke highly of Landen and what he has accomplished at his age, I knew that we needed to put something together to allow him to make his debut with us.
“We look forward to the opportunity to put Rette Jones Racing in Victory Lane for the second time in 2021.”
In addition to L&A South and LouLou’s Waterfront Restaurant, Calabash Seafood Hut, CARQUEST Auto Parts, Crystal Babson Century 21, Goodridge Fluid Transfer Systems, Joe Ryan Race Cars, Jones Group Demolition and Abatement, L & A Auto North, Quality Auto Body & Collision, Reeves Complete Auto Center Inc., Simpson, Skyline Sign and Team Hornaday join the team as partners this weekend.
RJR Development is co-owned by Canadian entrepreneur and former race car driver Terry Jones.