23 Apr DOMINIQUE VAN WIERINGEN SHINES EARLY IN ORANGE BLOSSOM 300 AT ORANGE COUNTY SPEEDWAY
– Relegated to 22nd-Place Finish After Part Failure –
Event: Orange Blossom 300
Date: April 18, 2015
Venue: Orange County Speedway – Rougemont, NC
Series: CARS Pro Cup Series
Start: 4th / Finish: 22nd
Laps Completed: 86 of 150 / Laps Led: 32
In her third event of the 2015 Late Model series race season, Dominique Van Wieringen showed her true potential in the Orange Blossom 300 Saturday night at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, NC. After recording her best qualifying effort of the season, Van Wieringen muscled her No. 5 NEMCO Motorsports/DuroByte Chevy into the lead on lap nine and showed the way for the next 32 laps in the 150-lap event. She ran solidly in the top five for 86 laps, but was forced to the sideline when a track bar mount failed creating a combustive environment. Her car went up in smoke and flames, which were quickly extinguished, yet forced her to retire with a 22nd-place finish.
“To say we’re a little disappointed would be true, but to go out and race to the lead like we did – that’s what we strive for every race so to see it come to fruition, that excitement outweighs the down side,” Van Wieringen stated. “Sure it didn’t end like we wanted it to but we have great momentum going into next weekend and we’ll put that to work for us and hopefully take it to the front again.”
Coming into the CARS Pro Cup Series event with a focus on bettering her qualifying effort, Van Wieringen and team were incredibly encouraged after posting the third-fastest time in each of the weekend’s three practice sessions. When it came time to qualify, the 19-year old engineering student carried that momentum through for a fourth-place qualifying effort allowing her to start in the preferred outside lane.
With the Orange Blossom 300 barely underway, Van Wieringen’s reaction time was quickly tested as the second-place car spun in front of her triggering a mid-pack, multi-car accident and a subsequent lengthy red flag period. Back under green and now in the third position Van Wieringen was quick to overtake second and by lap nine, was leading her first laps of the 2015 campaign.
She would stave off several challenges for the lead in the course of the next 32 laps and after a cautionary mention by her crew chief to save her tires; she gave up the lead to eventual race winner Christopher Bell. Executing their plan to stay within reach of the lead while still managing tire wear, Van Wieringen ran strong in the top five until lap 86 when it went up in smoke.
“When you have a part fail, that’s something that’s out of our control,” said crew chief Alex Smith. “This was still a great weekend for Dominique and the entire team. We have a deliberate plan for her development and each week we make more progress. All is good – we’re right on track.”
Next up for the NEMCO Motorsports/DuroByte team is the Mt. Dew Kickstart 100 at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla. on Friday, April 24. Immediately following that race, they will drive to Mobile, Ala. to compete in the 95KSJ 100 at Mobile International Speedway on Saturday, April 25. The remainder of the season includes a mix of Southern Super Series, ARCA/CRA Super Series and CARS Pro Cup Series events. For the complete schedule visit DominiqueRacing.com.
For live race updates, follow @DominiqueRacing on Twitter and Instagram. You can also like her on Facebook at facebook.com/DominiqueRacing.