Climbing the NASCAR Ladder, Maryeve Dufault Reflects on Nationwide Debut
Reno, NV (August 26, 2011) - Maryeve Dufault became the first Canadian women to compete in a NASCAR Nationwide event last weekend when she took the checkered flag driving the #81 Quebec Dodge Dealers Dodge in the Napa Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
Despite mechanical gremlins which challenged Default’s efforts throughout the weekend, the Sorel, Quebec native reflects on the positives from the history-making event, “Wow, it was an incredible experience,” said Dufault. “My goal, no matter what was to finish this race and despite some obstacles, we did that. It was very challenging, but I learned so much. This experience helped me develop my driving immensely both mentally and physically. I learned a lot about the handling and the set-up of the Nationwide car, especially as the fuel loads change, but I also learned a lot about the mental approach to an event like this. There was certainly extra pressure, being in Canada and becoming the first Canadian women to make it to Nationwide, and despite the mechanical challenges, I persevered, it was not an easy task for sure, but I learned something every lap.”
Dufault finished the event 30th out of 43 starters, due to early race contact and a spin, which broke the transmission mount in her #81 Dodge. As a result, the gearbox was compromised, Dufault was unable to use reverse or 1st gear to recover from the SPIN and the damage made shifting extremely difficult throughout the 74 lap event. In addition to transmission issues, Dufault fought brake problems throughout the race, but still finished her Nationwide debut consistently running lap times as quick as the top-20, “I was clipped on lap 14 and I spun. Unfortunately from there it was a tough day as the balance of the car was off due to the transmission damage and I had a very difficult time getting into several gears. On top of that, we had brake issues, and the water and helmet blower were not working! That is the way it goes sometimes, that is racing, but it certainly made for a tough day,” commented Dufault.
Dufault returns to the ARCA Racing Series, where she is about to wrap up her rookie season, which has been highlighted with one top-ten and five top-15 finishes. However, she does not count out future Nationwide races, “For now, I am going to continue to learn and compete in the ARCA Racing Series, but with proper testing beforehand, I certainly hope to compete again in the Nationwide Series soon,” said Dufault. “We worked hard to promote the Montreal race and we were very successful in promoting my sponsor, the Quebec Dodge Dealers. My goal is to continue to progress through the NASCAR ladder and Nationwide is the next step. I was very impressed with the car and the other drivers in the series, Nationwide offers great racing, and I am very grateful for the opportunity.”