Leilani Münter Has Strong Run in Farewell ARCA Race at Daytona
February 13, 2019 (Concord, NC) Surrounded by her family and friends and carrying a "Fare Thee Well" sticker on her No. 55 What the Health Toyota, Leilani Münter ended her 18-year racing career with a strong run at Daytona International Speedway not reflected by her 15th place finish.
Climbing behind the wheel one last time, Leilani began the weekend with a new personal career best qualifying effort, starting third in her No.55 What the Health Toyota for Venturini Motorsports.
Münter kept her green machine out front and at the halfway point in the race she was running in 4th place. When a caution came out on lap 43, Leilani came in for a pit stop along with the rest of the leaders. A slowed pit stop due to an equipment problem would shuffle her back returning to the track 19th. Showing skill and determination, Münter navigated her No. 55 What the Health Toyota back up through the field, climbing all the way back into 6th place by lap 63 and holding that position until the final 5-laps of the race.
On the restart with just 5 laps to go, Leilani was scored in 5th place before losing position when the restart went three-wide with the No. 55 What the Health Toyota stuck in the middle lane. Then, on the second to last lap, Leilani sustained a flat tire driving through and avoiding a wreck happening outside her windshield in turn 3. Maintaining her composure, she brought her car back down pit road for new tires and completed the overtime race with a bittersweet top-15 finish.
"We had a great run and were in contention for a top 5 finish," said Leilani. "Things didn't fall our way, as they often don't at Daytona, but we showed we could run up front and had the cards fallen another way, we had a shot to win this weekend."
"I want to thank Venturini Motorsports and everyone who has supported me on this journey. Some tears fell under my helmet after I crossed the finish line for the last time on my final lap. It's hard to walk away from something I've loved for so long. 18 years, don't they go by in a blink."
Leilani was a driver who has raised all her own sponsorship funds throughout her 18-year racing career, no easy feat. She said it was time for her move on from the racing sponsorship grind. Her first project post-racing is making a documentary film with Oceanic Preservation Society, the Academy Award winning filmmakers behind The Cove and Racing Extinction.
Leilani holds a degree in biology and currently sits on the board of three non-profit organizations: Oceanic Preservation Society, Empowered by Light, and EarthXFilm. She is also an ambassador for Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project and a patron of Population Matters. Although her racetrack battles may be over, Leilani will continue to fight for planet Earth and all the species we share it with.