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Mar 13, 2014 - 06:24 AM
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Maryeve Dufault Gets ARCA Assist From Busch, Crawford
Posted by: newsla on Mar 13, 2014 - 06:21 AM
NASCAR News
Maryeve Dufault Gets ARCA Assist From Busch, Crawford, Carelli For '14 ARCA Season; Next Stop - Mobile Short Track


Sorel, Quebec's Maryeve Dufault, driver of the No. 46 Team Stange Racing Ford, has never raced at Mobile Int'l Speedway. However, that's about to change when the third annual ARCA-Mobile 200 takes off Saturday afternoon, March 22.

 

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But another new track on the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards tour is really nothing new for Dufault.

"All these tracks, for the most part, are new to me. There's a lot of firsts out there for me in ARCA. It's a lot of pressure, given how competitive the ARCA Series is, but I have no choice," Dufault said.

"I wish I had the opportunity to test but that's not always possible. We have a budget we have to go with. A test always helps no matter how experienced the driver is, but it helps the team too."

And in addition to Team Stange Racing being a new ARCA team, there will be new crew members when the crew comes together for the race at Mobile. The team announced Monday that NASCAR Truck Series winner/veteran Rick Crawford would now serve as crew chief for Dufault for the remaining ARCA season.

Crawford won't be the only experience she can draw upon for Mobile.

"I have really good communication with Kurt Busch," Dufault said.

"He's always there to answer my questions. Kurt and I did a lot of driver appearances together when we both drove for Dodge. He's always been so supportive. Whether we're talking about the steering box, brakes, he's always giving me advice on the mechanical side or how to position myself on the track.

"He was always telling me that if certain people didn't help him along the way, he would not be where he is today. He's helped with ride-alongs at Pocono, anything to help.

"He came down (at Daytona) right before qualifications and helped me with a few things."

Dufault also had an assist at Daytona from NASCAR/ARCA veteran driver Rick Carelli, who spotted for her in the ARCA race.

According to her peers, she did an admirable job at Daytona, running up front in the thick of things for much of the race. In fact, Dufault got one heck of a commendation from 10-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel.

"Raced a lot with Maryeve (Dufault/at Daytona); she did a really good job," Kimmel said. "Really pleased with the way she raced. She didn't panic in the draft, held her own and battled hard on that outside groove. I was impressed."

Kimmel's comments obviously meant a lot to Dufault.

"I was so happy to read that," she said. "Frank Kimmel is a really confident guy, and he's achieved so much in his career. He has so much experience, so it's great to hear that from him.

"Once he saw that I could handle the car (at Daytona) and didn't overreact, he took notice and said, 'Okay, I can work with her.' They were bump-drafting me, and I got hit in the right corner in the turn. It knocked the car loose, but I stayed calm, didn't overreact and brought it back. It felt like I was losing a wheel."

With Daytona a memory, it's onto the Mobile short track. Unlike Kimmel and many of the other top teams, she will not get the chance to test. That said, Dufault will see the track for the first time when she strolls through the gate Friday morning, day before the race.

"I've been in touch with the team a lot right now, talking about our brake package for Mobile. I'm drawing off things I learned at Salem; there's been a lot of back and forth with that. I'll just have to find a set-up that matches my driving style, and I'm going to have to learn that in practice on Friday. We won't have the opportunity to test a spring package or a brake package. I wish (we could), but we work with the opportunities we have. I'm very grateful to be driving for Team Stange Racing.

"And being able to get advice from Kurt (Busch) and Rick (Carelli) in the spotter's stand, and Rick Crawford as crew chief, I've got a lot of knowledge and experience around me to learn from."

The third annual ARCA-Mobile 200 race weekend gets underway Friday, March 21 with the first of two practice sessions at 2:30 p.m., preceding final practice at 4:15. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is scheduled for 7 Friday night. Raceday festivities get going with an on-track autograph session from noon until 1, followed by driver introductions at 1:30. The ARCA-Mobile 200 is scheduled to get the green flag at 2.


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