Switching to a bit more serious topic, what was your reaction when you heard about Dan Wheldon?
Maryeve Dufault: I’ve known him since 2004. I met him at many events and talked to him in the past. It was a really sad story. I was still in my car in Toledo and I had a really bad day with issues in my race. Then my pit crew came over up to my window. And he said, “I gotta tell you that Dan Wheldon just died in Las Vegas.” I still was in my car with my belt on and was in shock. I forgot about my day right away. It was nothing compared to what happened to him. Racing is dangerous, you know what you’re putting yourself into. You kinda have to not think about it and you kind of feel invincible. It’s not something that happens every year. I still think safety is really good and it gets better every year. The average speed was crazy at Vegas, and sometimes things go bad. You can go out on the street and have something happen to you. It’s really sad. I feel really sorry for his family and what they have to go through. He died doing what he loved the most. He’s a champion. I couldnt believe he won the Indy 500 the same year he passed away. It’s the craziest thing. I hope it opens eyes to work on safety a little bit more.
How did it affect your racing?
Maryeve Dufault: Actually my last race was Toledo, so that was the same day. Now with stock car, I have a roof over my head. You can’t let it affect you as a driver. I’ve started accepting what happened, but you know, it's racing. It can happen anywhere. Sometimes it’s crazier on the freeway. You see people in sports like football and you see the injuries that happen. You lose people in sports all the time.
What is it about driving that you love so much?Maryeve Dufault:
I started riding motocross at four. It’s just adrenaline. The challenge of doing well. I’m really competitive. It’s all a combination of everything about when you win races. It’s so special, because you work so hard. All the emotion. I got addicted and hooked at a really young age and that’s why I can’t let it go. It would be the hardest thing in my life not to be involved in racing. I see Mr. Hylton, who is 77 years old
, that did the Daytona 500 so many times, and he's still racing in ARCA. He’s having a blast with it. It’s in your heart, it’s in your blood, and it’s just a passion. It’s crazy when you think about it.
Many people don’t really understand how hard racing is. They say racing isn’t really a sport. What do you think about that?
Maryeve Dufault: They should think twice. Let me tell you, I did a TV show with Ray Lewis where we did boot camp in football. I did a challenge, and he didn’t believe how in shape race car drivers are. Racing is about focus. It’s demanding. You’re not going out there for 10 minutes. You have to do the same thing over and over for hours. It’s the craziest temperature too. You’re using your muscles, your arms get tired, your neck gets tired. If you aren’t in shape as an athlete, then you start not performing. I think it’s a really important thing.
You know you’re an athlete when somebody can’t come into a race and perform. It’s really important to be able to be in shape to survive. It’s not body-building type, but you have to have a lot of muscle memory so they don’t get fatigued. There are a lot of mental games.
It’s the same even in go-karts. I have buddies that want to race, and I come out there and lap them. They’re done after a few laps. You have some serious g-force, and it’s really rough, and they have a lot more respect when they try it. He wasn’t in shape and couldn’t do it. He had to sit on a chair. He said he was dizzy and he was sore for two days. This guy was just like wow, I don’t know how you go through 40 laps. I enjoy doing that. You prove a point when you have people like that understanding it better.