(Stafford Springs, CT)—In her first season of NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition, Amherstburg, Ontario native Dominique Van Wieringen is pumped up for the NASCAR 150 on June 17 at Stafford Speedway. She has already set series records for the best qualifying effort by a female driver after qualifying 2nd at Mobile, Alabama, in that same race she set a record for most laps led by a female driver. Van Wieringen is looking forward to the NASCAR 150 as well as the WEEI 105.5 FM Fan Experience behind the wheel of the #30 DuroByte, Inc. Ford.
“I’m going to have to do a lot of research on Stafford,” said Van Wieringen. “It’s a track that I’ve never been to before and I’m going to be looking at every YouTube video I can watch to see the track inside and out to try to figure out how to drive the track before I get there so I’ll be ahead of my fellow competitors. We’re going to have to use that practice session on Thursday to figure the track out and get the car dialed in before we get down to qualifying and racing the next day. I love doing the autograph stuff. The great thing about the K&N Series is that we’ve had an autograph session at every track we’ve gone to and I love meeting new people. Everyone comes from different walks of life and they all have different stories to tell. I really enjoy meeting the fans and being able to interact with them and hear all about their experiences.”
Van Wieringen has been racing since the age of 5 in go karts and Late Models, but dirt bike racing is where she originally got her start. If not for an accident that her brother had while racing motocross, she may have never made the transition to four wheeled vehicles.
“I actually started racing on dirt bikes when I was about 5 years old,” said Van Wieringen. “My younger brother and I raced those for about 5 years until he got into an accident that nearly killed him so we went from motocross to go kart racing. I never really liked motocross because I was scared of doing any jumps. Once I got started in go karts on four wheels, it was love at first site. We raced go karts for about 10 years and a friend from go karting offered me a ride in an Outlaw Super Late Models in Michigan. In the past 5 years I’ve raced in Outlaw Late Models, JEGS All Star Series, Super 7 Series Late Models, and I’ve done some some open wheel modified racing. Between Late Models and now the K&N Series, I’ve done almost the entire east coast at different tracks.”
It was through her Late Model experience that she ended up meeting one of the co-owners of Rette-Jones racing and landing the seat in the #30 for the 2016 season.
“Last year at the Winchester 400 is where I met the guys from Rette-Jones Racing,” said Van Wieringen. “They were helping someone out for that race and it turned out that one of the team co-owners lived like 5 minutes from my parents’ house in Canada. They kind of knew about us but we had never sat down and talked with them. Once I sat down with them in the off season and discussed doing a K&N deal that’s how I got to this point and things have been going pretty well for us so far.”
Through the first five races of the K&N Pro Series East season, Van Wieringen has shown speed in qualifying and feels like a win is only a matter of time for her and the #30 team.
“We started off on the right foot this year qualifying 3rd at New Smyrna and 2nd at Mobile,” said Van Wieringen. “We’ve done really well and I can’t complain with anything so far. I’ve had seasons where nothing went right and we’re hoping we can get our first win this year, which would be icing on the cake. The Mobile race was a good confidence boost and being able to lead laps was a cool experience because it had been over a year since the last race I led laps in. I think we’re getting closer and closer to that first win.”
In addition to her records in the K&N East Series, Van Wieringen has also set records in the Late Model ranks, becoming the first female driver to lead a lap in the CRA/JEGS All-Star Series and she is the first female driver to win an Outlaw Super Late Model championship in the U.S. back in 2012.
“I didn’t believe I won that championship for the longest time!,” said Van Wieringen. “When you win a championship, it’s hard to believe until you actually go to the banquet and have the championship in your hand. I never thought I was going to win the championship that year, I was more focused on learning everything that I could. I raced against a lot of good people that year and although I never won a race, we were always consistently up front and that’s what determined me winning the championship. It was a surreal experience.”
The WEEI 105.5FM Fan Experience will be open FREE of charge to race fans on Thursday, June 16. There will be a test and tune session from 3pm-6:30pm and at the conclusion of the practice, Stafford Speedway will open its paddock area to allow race fans and media to meet the drivers as well as getting a preview of the cars and team haulers from 6:45pm-8:30pm, much like the atmosphere at the track’s season beginning and season ending NAPA Pit Parties.
Tickets for the June 17 NASCAR 150 are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $27.50 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $30.00 for all ages and all ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.