Leilani Munter Shines at DaytonaFebruary 20, 2017
Concord, NC (February 20, 2017) – Saturday’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season-opening Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire at Daytona International Speedway is officially in the rear view mirror.
The Florida rains held off but a dramatic multi-car crash on lap 75 forced ARCA officials to waive the red flag and freeze the field, ending the scheduled 80-lap feature prematurely.
Celebrating her 43rd birthday, Leilani Munter strapped into her No.15 Vegan Powered Toyota Saturday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway determined to compete for the win on racing’s biggest stage.
Recognized simply as Leilani, the part-time series’ driver and full-time activist to many causes, brought her many adorning fans to their feet as she raced her way into the top-5 during the late stages of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season-opener at Daytona.
After qualifying in the 17th position out of a stacked 40-car starting field, Leilani displayed an equal balance of patience and skill as she drove her Vegan Powered car up through the field. With the top six leaders breaking away Leilani led a second pack of cars chasing them down.
Catching the lead pack Leilani used the draft to catapult herself into the fourth running position as the race neared the end. After a caution and race restart with 24-laps remaining Leilani found herself firmly within the bottom line of the two groups as they circled the daunting 2.5 mile superspeedway approaching speeds of 200 mph.
Running nose to tail in the lead group and eyeing a career best finish, Leilani’s hopes came to an abrupt end when the trailing car made contact with her rear bumper sending her Vegan Powered car up the track and into the outside wall – spawning a multi-car incident.
With right side damage, Leilani pitted allowing her Venturini Motorsports’ crew to attend to the car and get her back out on the track to finish the race. The melee proved costly as Leilani would not be able to fully recover, ultimately finishing in the 19th position.
Despite the finish, Leilani’s efforts were praised by the team and the large group of supporters on-hand for her drive. Among the group of family and friends at Daytona lending their support was Leilani’s brother-in-law and founding member and singer/guitarist of the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir.
Leilani, recently featured on FOX Sport’s NASCAR Race Hub program as part of their special “Women in Wheels” series, will remain in Daytona throughout next Sunday’s Daytona 500 educating race fans and passing out Vegan food samples from her Vegan themed display tent located in the fan zone at Daytona International Speedway.
The Daytona race was Leilani’s only scheduled race of the 2017 season.