The race is at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN.
For Dufault, a full-time competitor in ARCA this year, it will be a home race. She's from Sorel, Quebec, just north of Montreal. It's also the return to a track that revived her driving career.
Originally aimed for the IndyCar feeder system, Dufault got derailed for a year or two until Tagliani got her into a NASCAR Canadian Tire Series car for the Trois-Rivières Grand Prix and the Autopro 100 race to be held on Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve last August.The ride was sponsored by some Canadian Dodge dealers.
Representatives from Dodge in the U.S. were there. "They really liked my aggressiveness and everything I did on the track," Dufault said. "I got taken out but I went from 30th to 10th and I was with good drivers out there, good, respected drivers, and I just fought. They liked what they saw and I got a call and we just worked on my development as a stock car driver with Dodge."
The 2011 race is again sponsored by Dodge, and Maryeve got called up from her day job with Tony Marks Racing in ARCA to run the circuit. Tagliani will also drive in Saturday's race. Maryeve has also been a hit with the media, many of whom key in on her form life as a stunt woman and model, including a brief hitch with the Price is Right 10 year ago.
The news may be having an impact. Attempts to access Maryeve's site -- MaryeveRacing.com -- were met with "Bandwidth Limit Exceeded" errors Thursday morning. For more on Maryeve, read more about Maryeve here.
Danica's Twisty Debut
ESPN reported yesterday that the deal is done for Danica to race full time in Nationwide with sponsor GoDaddy.com and JR Motorsports, with select NASCAR Cup appearances with Stewart-Haas in 2012 before moving to Cup full time in 2013. Read the ESPN story here.
Each spasm of Danica-To-NASCAR news sets off the usual waves of elation from Danica's NASCAR-preferring fans, lament from some IndyCar fans and "good riddance!" messages from others.
Danica has raced at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve before. She crashing a Barber Dodge in 2002, then finishing fifth and third in 2003 and ’04 Toyota Atlantic events. Read a recent interview with Danica from the Montreal Gazette here. Read an interview with Danica about her early tastes of NASCAR life here.
The circuit, at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Notre-Dame, a man-made island in the St. Lawrence River that is part of the city of Montreal, was originally named the Île Notre-Dame Circuit. It was renamed in honor of Canadian Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve, father of Jacques Villeneuve, following his death in 1982. The venue's most famous race is the annual F1 visit there.