BROOKLYN, Michigan (June 20, 2011) – – ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Rookie of the Year contender Maryeve Dufault put on another good showing Friday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway in Tony Marks Racing’s No. 12 Mad Croc / VR-12 / Dodge Motorsports Dodge Charger. Unfortunately, the results won’t show just how strong the team’s performance was as Dufault became a victim of circumstances during the RainEater Wiper Blades 200.
Despite the Sorel, Quebec’s limited experience at the two-mile oval, Dufault showed extreme maturity during practice, qualifying and during the eighth race of the 2011 season.
After negotiating the 22nd fastest lap during practice, the Tony Marks Racing (TMR) team led by Darren Wolfe and Ryan Chism along with Dufault made some adjustments to their No. 12 Mad Croc / VR-12 / Dodge Motorsports Dodge Charger hoping for a solid starting position. In qualifying, Dufault raised the bar by maneuvering the 16th fastest lap putting smiles on the rookie team heading into the race.
Immediately from the start of the race, Dufault maintained a position in the top-20. An early race caution would keep the former NASCAR Canadian Tire Series from making an early race charge. On the lap 10 restart, Dufault locked the 16th position.
By lap 20, she had slipped back to 17th but the rookie was biding her time and logging laps in her Michigan International Speedway. Five laps later, she lost a position to Matt Merrell while battling tire wear and some tightness.
The caution flag though would waive by lap 30 with Dufault on the lead lap and solidly in the top-20 where four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment were on deck for the Tony Marks Racing rookie during routine pit stops.
Restarting in the 17th position, Dufault moved into the 16th position on lap 41 with her sights set on entering the top-15. When Hal Martin blew a tire at the same time, the yellow flag waived once again allowing the opportunity for the TMR team to catch up to the rear of the field and prepare to throttle forward.
The lap 47 restart positioned the popular ARCA driver in the 12th position. With determination to move into the top-10 in the second half of the event, the No. 52 of Tom Hessert lost a tire in front of the No. 12 Mad Croc / VR-12 / Dodge Motorsports Dodge Charger forcing Dufault to take the high line to avoid Hessert’s spinning machine. Hessert though clipped her as he drifted back up the track sending the former road racing talent into the wall on the backstretch.
She was able to leave the scene of the incident under her own power but heavy damage to the No. 12 Mad Croc / VR-12 / Dodge Motorsports Dodge Charger would ultimately force the TMR team to exit the event after 52 laps. The team was credited with a frustrating 28th place finish.
“It’s frustrating, because we had a really good car,” said Dufault. “I cannot thank Mad Croc, VR-12 and Dodge enough for the opportunity to allow us to race at Michigan. We were going to have a good day. I learned an awful lot. I went to the high side and had no where to go when I got clipped. It’s stinks because I wanted to leave here still in the top-10 in the championship standings, but we’ll look ahead to Winchester next week and see what we can do.”
Tony Marks, team owner commented on the team’s performance in the Irish Hills. “There was nothing no one could do; this unfortunately is part of the game. I cannot tell you how proud I am of Maryeve. She was doing a magnificent job and was going to have a good finish to carry us into Winchester next weekend. We’ll just go there and look to close what we started here.”
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is a return to Winchester (Ind.) Speedway for the running of the Winchester ARCA 200 presented by Federated Auto Parts. Dufault will make her inaugural debut at the Indiana short track.
About Tony Marks Racing (TMR):
Tony Marks Racing was founded in 2009 through the passion for racing of team owner and former driver Tony Marks. Marks is the successful owner of TMT, Inc., a logistics, warehousing and packaging company with over 400 employees whose customers are mainly comprised of Fortune 100 companies.
Marks began his racing career in 1985 getting behind the wheel of everything from drag racers, Dirt Late Models, SCCA Formula Fords, USAC F2000 Open Wheel and ARCA cars. Tony personally raced until 2005 amassing numerous wins, championships and track records along the way until he then changed his focus from driver to owner and began building racing programs for his children Jared (16 years old) and Rachel (13 years old). Under the auspices of TMR, Jared began his racing career in 2002 in quarter midgets and now competes in late model, CRA, ASA and ARCA Series events while Rachel continues her development program racing quarter midgets and Bandoleros.
TMR has been at the forefront of charitable giving through its’ “Driving Against Hunger” and “Million Meal Challenge” race programs which have raised over $200,000 for Forgotten Harvest in 2010 at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events at Michigan International Speedway.
For the NASCAR events TMR along with TMT, Inc. partnered with Forgotten Harvest for the “Million Meal Challenge For Our Kids” which helps to bridge the hunger gap while schools are out of session and feeds 20,000 children per day in the Detroit metro area. Forgotten Harvest was significantly displayed on the entry of Chase Austin during both the Truck and Nationwide events at Michigan International Speedway along with logos of “Million Meal Challenge” sponsors Walgreen’s, United Race Group, Holyfield’s Choice Alka-Power Water and Vitamin Spice. Evander Holyfield was also instrumental in the challenge, acting as Grand Marshall for the August race and announcing his “Fight Against Hunger” on behalf of Forgotten Harvest.
As the first race team to “Drive Against Hunger” through their partnership with Forgotten Harvest, TMR plans to continue their alliance with Forgotten Harvest and once again “Drive Against Hunger” during the 2011 season.