MOORESVILLE, North Carolina (October 21, 2011) – - ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards driver Maryeve Dufault had high hopes for last Sunday’s season finale at Toledo Speedway in her final run of the season in the No. 12 Mad Croc / Dodge Motorsports Dodge Charger for Tony Marks Racing. Unfortunately, a series of obstacles outside the control of the Sorel, Quebec native left her unable to really strut her stuff.
The former NASCAR Canadian Tires Series (NCTS) driver entered the Federated Car Care 200 with high hopes, especially after a private test session at the half-mile oval, a week before the 19th race of the season allowed Dufault the opportunity to run consistent and competitive lap times alongside teammate Jared Marks.
With the United States Auto Club (USAC) sharing Saturday with the ARCA Racing Series at Toledo Speedway, practice which was normally run as one session would now be combined into two forty minute-efforts. In one of the stoutest fields of the season, Dufault posted the 33rd and 35th fastest laps in the two sessions respectively, which was discouraging not only for Dufault and her crew chief Tommy Buzze.
With a faulty ignition box change and other routine adjustments made to their No. 12 Mad Croc / Dodge Motorsports Dodge Charger before the start of qualifying, the team was optimistic. In qualifying, Dufault picked up the pace considerably and would start her second ARCA Racing Series event from the 31st position.
However, following her time trials run, she explained to her team that the motor wasn’t up to song. The team agreed with their fellow driver’s intuition as a “rich” sound from underneath the hood would potentially hinder the team during the 200-lap race.
Unfortunately, teams returned to the ARCA-owned racetrack on Sunday under gloomy skies and consistent rain showers. Ultimately, the start of the contest would be pushed-back nearly two hours before the command to fire engines was given. Dufault had to bring her Chrysler nameplate to pit road for a carburetor change under the pace laps, and unfortunately there was not enough time to complete the change as ARCA would choose to utilize the 35-car starting field to finish the track drying process throwing both the green and yellow flags simultaneously for the first 40 circuits of the contest. With the yellow flag retracted and the green “officially” given to the field, TMR had already experienced its fair share of misfortune. Luckily, the former open-wheel driver did not lose as many laps as she could have because of the adverse conditions. Still, though Dufault returned to the track three laps down and would have a battle within a battle once the field was turned loose.
A masterful job of car control allowed the female sensation to log laps under her belt despite still having to make adjustments to their carburetor during the race. Still, she kept a good head on her shoulders and overcame diversity to post a respectable 26th place finish.
“I’m not happy with the finish, but I was glad that we were able to finish the race,” said Dufault. We definitely had some issues that were out of the team’s control which hindered us from racing competitively. Still, we have great sponsors and supporters at Tony Marks Racing, so we to give 110 percent, despite the circumstances. We all learned something from the mishaps and we can just move forward and concentrate on 2012.”
Dufault made 14 ARCA Racing Series starts in 2011 with a career-best finish of 10th at Chicagoland Speedway. She also posted seven top-20 finishes and 11 top-25 runs. Her best qualifying run occurred at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in June where she started 15th.
Overall, Maryeve Dufault finished 16th in the final ARCA Racing Series championship standings accumulating 2,105 points in her 14 races.
“I learned a lot this year,” Dufault added. “If I didn’t learn something at the shop, it was on the track and so on. We had our ups and downs, but we made it through. I had a lot of support and I’m very appreciative for the opportunity. We’ll get refocused on next year and look to come out bigger and better than ever.”
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series is the 2011 championship banquet which is set for Saturday, December 10th at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Ky., near Cincinnati. The top-20 drivers and top-10 owners and drivers will be recognized for their participation in the series this year.
To learn more about Tony Marks Racing, please click over to Tmr-racing.com.
For more on Maryeve Dufault, please log onto Maryeveracing.com.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Maryeve Dufault, driver of the No. 12 Mad Croc / Dodge Motorsports / Tony Marks Racing Dodge Charger in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards for Tony Marks Racing (TMR).
NAME: Chris Knight, Knight Motorsports Management