Dufault not just another pretty face

August, 19, 2011

With apologies to Bob Barker -- Maryeve Dufault! Come on down! You're the next contestant on the "Spice is Right."

In case you missed it, Danica Patrick is not the only female driver in Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

She's also not the only female driver in the road course event who has posed in a bikini for a national magazine.

Dufault, a former "Barker's Beauty" on the television game show "The Price is Right," will make her NASCAR debut Saturday in the Napa Auto Parts 200 (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), in which Patrick will make her NASCAR road course debut.

This isn't some gimmick. The former Hawaiian Tropic model/Lingerie Bowl contestant/Maxim model has made 12 starts in the ARCA Series this year with a 10th-place finish at Chicagoland, her best so far.

She's so serious about this racing gig that she reportedly used money from modeling to purchase tires and other equipment needed to get her career off the ground.

The 29-year-old Canadian will be in the No. 81 for MacDonald Motorsports in Montreal. She won't get the attention Patrick will, particularly with the IndyCar Series darling ready to announce next week her plans to enter NASCAR full time next season.

But Maryeve isn't doing this for the attention. She has been racing since she was 8 years old, competing in motocross in her teenage years before migrating to go-karts and open-wheel racing.

"Even at a young age I needed powerful rushes of adrenalin, speed and even danger," Maryeve says on her website, Maryeveracing.com.

Perhaps one day having a female or females in a NASCAR event won't seem like a novelty. Perhaps one day a woman will compete at a level to which posing in FHM, as Patrick once did, and Maxim, as Maryeve has, won't be a part of the resume, or if it is won't be mentioned so prominently.

Perhaps one day a woman will prove she can compete consistently with the good ol' boys and we won't make such a big deal when one makes a debut.

Until then, it is a big deal.

There is attention.

It's almost like a game show.

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer



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