Dominique Van Wieringen Ends First NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Season On High Note
MOORESVILLE, North Carolina – There’s no questioning that rookie sensation Dominique Van Wieringen (@DominiqueRacing) ended the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) season one of the hottest drivers on the tour.
Entering last week’s season finale at Dover International Speedway, the Amherstburg, Ontario native carried the momentum of two back-to-back top-five finishes, by the checkered flag in the Dover 125, she made it three.
Van Wieringen’s Monster Mile debut was complicated by Mother Nature who washed away the team’s practice sessions on Friday morning leaving the original slot for qualifying only to be transformed into a short practice session.
After Mother Nature returned to the track and soaked the 1.0-mile oval during the early afternoon hours, the rain subsided and the track dried to start the 14th and final race of the season on-time.
Starting 10th by her current position in the car owner standings, Van Wieringen hovered inside the top-10 during the early race stages in her No. 30 Durobyte / NTI-UTI Ford Fusion, but aggressive changes to her automobile during the halfway break woke her car to life giving the female competitor the handling she needed to slice and dice her way through the field and to a third place finish behind her Rette Jones Racing teammate Jesse Little.
“I’m super excited and proud of the whole team,” said Van Wieringen. “Three races in a row of top-five finishes is something to be extremely proud of. We struggled with a tight car in the first half, but went loose and got the car very good for the second half.
“Once it hooked up, we were bad fast. It was fun being able to race at Dover and pass on both the top and bottom groove. I can’t wait to watch the race on NBC Sports Network and see our progression.”
With her stout finish at Dover, Van Wieringen leaped to ninth in the championship standings, moving four positions (13th) in the standings over the last four races. Overall, the K&N Pro Series East rookie ended the year with three top-fives and five top-10 finishes, including her career-best third at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in September and last weekend at Dover. Additionally, she started inside the top-10 for 10 of the 14 races, earning a best start of second three-times (Mobile, Bristol and Columbus).
“We had fast race cars all year long, but we had absolutely no luck,” added Van Wieringen. “We knew that once we got some luck on our side, we would be able to showcase our team’s ability. We did that and then some. I’m looking forward to seeing what our future holds.”
In addition to becoming the first female competitor to score three consecutive finishes in K&N Pro Series East history, she also become the highest leading female in the series with 140 laps led in three races and the most laps led in any single event with a whopping 88 laps led at Stafford Motor Speedway in June.
“I’m very proud of what we accomplished this season, she added. “We didn’t win, but we found ourselves in position to for a couple of races and that’s all you can ask for. I’m extremely thankful to Mark (Rette, co-owner) and Terry (Jones, co-owner) for the opportunity. I had a blast and hope to build on this for next year.”
Rette, a championship winning crew chief in the ARCA Racing Series said he’s proud of what his rookie driver accomplished in 2016.
“Dominique grew a lot as a race car driver this season,” he said. “She started off the year strong with a good qualifying run and even earned her first top-10 finish. From there we had some strong showings, but had issues out of our control which I think in the end made her a stronger driver. I wish the season didn’t end last weekend at Dover as I think we were on the verge of making history again with a win – but it’s something to build on for next year. I can’t say it enough, I’m really, really proud of her.”
Van Wieringen is active on Twitter. You can follow and tweet with her @DominiqueRacing. You can also like her exclusive fan page on Facebook.com. Her team, Rette Jones Racing is also active on Twitter. Follow them @RetteJones30.
The 125-lap event will be air on NBC Sports Network on Thursday, Oct. 6 (today) at 4:00 p.m.