Concord, North Carolina (August 4, 2017) – Race car driver and prominent environmental activist Leilani Münter has just returned home from the south of France, about as far away from an ARCA Racing Series garage as she could get. She traveled there last week to attend Leonardo DiCaprio’s Saint-Tropez Gala, a benefit for the actor’s foundation, which supports environmental causes around the globe. Leilani’s brother-in-law Bob Weir, founding member of the Grateful Dead, even donated his Tesla Model S and a custom guitar for the cause.
She may have traded in her racing suit and helmet for a cocktail dress and heels, but only temporarily. Although she was far from the racing world, Leilani was still working from France on the details of her return to the ARCA Series in 2018.
“We had such a great run going at Daytona in February, to be running in the top five at the final stages of the race felt great. Our Vegan Powered campaign reached over 150 million people online, it was beyond my wildest dreams. Thankfully our successful campaigns at Daytona and Talladega has led to more opportunities for next year,” said Münter, “I’m very excited for what the future holds.”
Earlier this season Münter, with the support of two non-profits – A Well-Fed World and World Animal News – took to the high-banks of Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway where she competed in two of the most widely anticipated ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard events of the year.
Staying true to form, Leilani, known for her environmental stewardship, proudly unveiled her ‘Vegan Powered’ race car along with a 360 degree marketing campaign designed to educate hard core NASCAR fans on the true meaning of Vegan – as well as debunking stereotypes many have regarding Vegan food choices.
The Vegan Powered campaign, a collaboration between Leilani, A Well-Fed World and World Animal News – reached millions of race fans and generated over 150 million digital impressions over two events.
As part of an extensive sponsorship activation campaign, Leilani and her partners occupied prime real estate within Daytona and Talladega’s Fan Zone areas, setting up a Vegan tent display featuring Leilani’s show car with concentrated efforts on delivering free Vegan food samples to thousands of race fans.
Joined by former NFL player David Carter, known as ‘The 300-Pound Vegan,’ and vegan bodybuilder Robert Cheeke, the trio of vegan personalities impressed a diverse audience with tasty fare such as vegan buffalo wings and vegan meatballs throughout each weekend.
Leilani, a biology graduate, is an advocate for solar power, electric cars, plant-based diets and animal rights – and her passion is powerful, as evident every time she appears at the track proudly donning an explicit cause on the side of her rolling billboard. Her past race cars have included messages regarding renewable energy and clean energy legislation as well as award-winning documentaries The Cove and Blackfish.
Despite finishing 19th in the season opener at Daytona it’s easy to say Leilani was enjoying a career day behind the wheel of her No.15 VMS prepared Vegan Powered race car prior to her departure with just 15 laps left in the race – which was no fault of her own.
After qualifying in the 17th position out of a stacked 40-car starting field (185.640 mph), 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 in the sixth position, 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.
Coming off a career performance in the ARCA series’ season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, Leilani reintroduce her ever popular ‘Vegan Powered’ car at Talladega Superspeedway. With continued backing from A Well-Fed World and World Animal News, Leilani took her “Vegan Powered” race car to the track in hopes of repeating her Daytona success.
Driving the No. 98 Vegan Powered entry, Leilani drove under the Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM) banner as part of a unique collaboration between Venturini Motorsports and MMM.
As part of a scheduled one day event, ARCA Racing Series teams and drivers made an attempt to practice, qualify and race all within the same day. Unfortunately heavy rains entered the area after the series sole practice session ultimately canceling qualifying and postponing the event until the following day.
With mechanical issues keeping Leilani from getting on track for the first 25 minutes of the shortened 30 minute practice session, in her only practice run Leilani posted the 18th quickest practice speed (183.480 mph / 52.191 seconds) the cancellation of qualifying meant Leilani would start towards the rear of the field in the 28th position.
Dealt with an undesirable starting spot Leilani took the green flag with vigor.
Driving her way through the field Leilani was credited with posting one of the quickest laps (50.614 seconds) of the race during the early stages. Optimism would be short lived. Running in a pack of cars Leilani would take on right side damage after a race car running on her outside swerved into her while attempting to make an evasive move to avoid a car with a blown tire.
Taking on right side damage, the team would pit for repairs and return Leilani back to race competition. However, upon returning to the track Leilani radioed back to the pits complaining of transmission problems. Unable to keep the car in gear Leilani and the Vegan Powered team were forced to retire early on lap 38 of the scheduled 80-lap event.
Credited with a disappointing 28th place finish the weekend was not a total loss as Leilani and her Vegan message made a considerable impact on viewers and fans attending the event.
As she did in Daytona, Leilani continued her vegan message throughout the entire ARCA/NASCAR race weekend at Talladega. As part of an extensive sponsorship activation campaign, Leilani and her partners displayed her Vegan Powered race car in Talladega’s fan zone area meeting with race fans and delivering thousands of FREE Vegan Food samples to engaged supporters.
To learn more about Leilani and her Vegan Powered campaign visit her websites at www.leilani.green / www.VeganPowered.org or follow her on social media @LeilaniMunter (Twitter and Instagram) or LeilaniMunter (Facebook).
ABOUT VENTURINI MOTORSPORTS:
Venturini Motorsports (VMS), fielding cars for over 30-years in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, is one of the premier NASCAR driver development programs in the country. Multiple team championships and consistent on-track success, VMS has evolved into one of the most recognizable names in motorsports. Since 2007, VMS has assisted in the career development of notable NASCAR drivers such as Joey Logano, Erik Jones, William Byron, Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Brennan Poole, Kyle Benjamin, Daniel Suarez, and Brandon Jones. Over the years the Venturini name has become synonymous with modern-day racing in America. In 2012, the Venturini family was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (www.NIASHF.org) and now find themselves enshrined with such sports icons as Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Vince Lombardi, Tommy Lasorda and Rocky Marciano.
Official: www.VenturiniMotorsports.com | Twitter: @VenturiniMotor | Facebook: Venturini Motorsports