LONG POND, Pennsylvania (June 13, 2011) – - ARCA Racing Series Rookie of the Year candidate Maryeve Dufault had an impressive showing in her Pocono (Pa.) Raceway debut continuing her Tony Marks Racing (TMR) team’s run of consistent finishes in the Pocono ARCA 200.
Never have seeing the defying 2.5-mile triangle before practice on Friday morning, fellow Dodge teammate and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch offered the Sorel, Quebec native a private tour around the “Tricky Triangle.” Undoubtedly, the advice paid off.
In practice, Dufault in her No. 12 VR-12 / Dodge Motorsports Dodge Charger mounted the 17th fastest practice lap. Throughout practice, she showed massive improvement which climbed the freshman team through the running order.
The TMR team led by Darren Wolfe and Ryan Chism elected to make minor changes to her No. 12 VR-12 / Dodge Motorsports Dodge Charger hoping to give her a little more speed in Menards Pole by Ansell qualifying. In time trials, Dufault found more speed and negotiated a 15th place qualifying position, a career best in seven races.
The strategy for Dufault and her TMR team was to learn and finish the race.
Through the race’s first 15 circuits, the No. 12 VR-12 / Dodge Motorsports Dodge Charger maintained a spot in the top-15. With the leaders on a torrid pace, Dufault would lose a lap under green but would fight off her other challengers for the Aaron’s Lucky Dog. The caution flag waived on lap 17, with Dufault rightfully earning her lap back.
A solid pit stop by the TMR team would return the former NASCAR Canadian Tire Series competitor into the top-15. With light rain falling and fog present though, the caution period extended over the next 12 laps, and initially, ARCA officials decided to drop the green flag on lap 32. After restarts to begin laps 32 and 33 were aborted, officials instructed drivers to drive down pit road to close lap 35 where the red flag would be issued as everyone waited for the fog to lift.
A short time later, the cars would be re-fired and moved from pit road. The green flag would fly on lap 38 with Dufault on the move. Making work of her challengers, Dufault would move into the 13th position when the caution flag would waive on lap 50. The team followed the leaders and made the trip to pit road for four tires and fuel. Dufault called for no adjustments as she was very comfortable with her race car.
Restarting the event on lap 57 in the 12th position, Dufault would get yet another lap under her belts before a caution flag waived two laps later for again dense fog around the facility. Red flag conditions would again adorn the field but ultimately the fog would force ARCA officials to consider the race complete on lap 59 with Dufault scored in the 12thposition.
“It was a very good day for Tony Marks Racing, VR-12 and Dodge,” said Dufault, who notched her fourth top-15 finish in seven races. “I learned a lot this weekend that will help us when we come back in August. Tony (Marks, owner) did a great job spotting and the team was strong in the pits. I’m happy with a 12th in my first Pocono start. Hopefully we can keep these solid finishes going.”
As for Marks, who played a double-duty role at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, he was exceptionally pleased with the outcome. “It was nice to see the progress of Maryeve from start to finish this weekend,” he said. “Darren, Ryan and the whole TMR team did a great job giving her a competitive car that she was able to maneuver through a very difficult track in some uncharacteristic conditions.”
With her finish on Saturday, Dufault remains 10th in the ARCA Racing Series championship standings after seven races.
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is round eight of nine on the 2011 schedule. The RainEater Wiper Blades 200 from the two-mile oval of Michigan International Speedway is set for Friday, June 17th at 5:00 p.m. Eastern live on SPEED. Dufault will make her inaugural debut at the track nestled in the “Irish Hills.”
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NAME: Chris Knight, Knight Motorsports Management