After Danica Patrick was confirmed for a NASCAR career, 11 female drivers signed up for the winter ARCA test, ARCA, of course, being the feeder series for NASCAR, and the place to get discovered, male or female.
One of them was Leilani Munter, the pretty, long-haired, semiprofessional vegan, perhaps the most unlikely among the mix to seriously pursue race car driving. But Munter refused to give up, doing whatever it took to get a decent ride for the 200-mile ARCA season opener at Daytona International Speedway each February, and hopefully beyond. Since she debuted in 2010, Munter has managed just 19 starts.
With a variety of usually green sponsors – her brother-in-law is, after all, Bob Weir, a member of the Grateful Dead – Munter came back each year, answering the bell, as tough as the 100-1 fighter who just wouldn’t stay down.
Until now. Friday’s Lucas Oil 200 was Munter’s final race. “I’m so tired,” she said, through tears, moments after she climber from the No. 55 What The Health Toyota, to an ovation by a literal circle of friends surrounding her car. Not tired of racing, but tired of begging. “Knocking on doors, asking for money – I’m just so tired of it.”
After all, Munter’s focus has changed a bit. She recently got married, “and I’m turning 45 in a week,” she said. “I just can’t do this anymore.”
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