Just 32 laps into last Friday’s United Site Services 70 at NHMS, a mechanical failure sent a trail of oil underneath her No. 30 Durobyte / NTI-UTI Ford Fusion leaving the driver a passenger as her car careened out of control and towards the inside wall.
Upon impact, she was hit by fellow driver Reid Wilson who also slid in the oil. While dazed after the impact, Van Wieringen dropped her window net to let the safety vehicles at the track know she was conscious and alert.
For safety precautions, the Amherstburg, Ontario native was extricated from her car by safety personnel where she made the mandatory trip to the infield care center where after a thorough examination, she was treated and released shortly after the event.
Van Wieringen took to social media after returning to the hotel Friday night informing fans that she was OK and would follow-up with her personal doctors this week to make sure she was completely healed and medically cleared to return to competition.
“By far that was the biggest impact of my racing career,” said Van Wieringen. “We had such a strong race going, but without any warning, we had a mechanical failure and I was headed to the wall. I’m not going to lie, I was shaken up a little bit, but without the hard and dedicated work of my Rette Jones Racing team and NASCAR, I was able to walk away without any serious injury.”
Van Wieringen stated that her decision to follow-up with her physicians was not only her personal choice, but included emphasis from NASCAR as well.
“NASCAR wants us to be safe, especially after a wreck like that,” she said. “It’s amazing I can take a hit like I did and be able to walk away from the track later that night. They do such a great job making sure these race cars are safe and it’s because of their endless effort in doing so, I’ll hopefully be able to compete at Iowa Speedway next weekend.
“The car we brought to New Hampshire was a brand new car and we had high hopes for it. Unfortunately, there’s nothing left and we’re forced to start all over. It’s a real bummer, because it’s put the team in a tough place. Hopefully, all the dots will connect and we’ll be able to get back on our feet, but losing that car definitely hurt.”
Mark Rette, co-owner and crew chief for Rette Jones Racing echoes his drivers’ sentiments on NASCAR safety, but also applauds his driver for having the wherewithal to take her health in full control.
“Sometimes in racing, we gripe about costs and the nitpicking NASCAR does with the team and then you have an incident like we had at New Hampshire and it puts things all into perspective,” offered Rette. “I can’t thank NASCAR enough for not only making sure we bring incredible safe car to the track, but also for attending to Dominique quickly and appropriately. NASCAR’s medical staff is second-to-none and I greatly appreciate all they do for the teams and drivers.
“I also have to thank Steve Leavitt and Leavitt Performance for building us a safe race car. While NASCAR mandates rules to keep the driver’s safe, Steve and Leavitt Performance are the foundation for building us safe race cars and we never take that for granted.”
“As far as Dominique, she is incredibly smart. She has always been very open to how she is feeling in the past and after New Hampshire she is taking that to a new level to make sure she’s at 100 percent next weekend at Iowa. She’s asking all the right questions and making the necessary calls and making appointments herself to get her clearance to drive. We’re very encouraged by what we’ve been told this week and hope it continues to go that direction and she’ll be cleared to return to racing quickly.”
Van Wieringen was seen by a board certified neurologist this week for treatment of a possible concussion and is expected to be cleared early next week by that neurologist to return to competition in next Friday night’s Casey’s General Stores 150 presented by Vatterott College at Iowa Speedway.
Follow Dominique Van Wieringen on Twitter @DominiqueRacing or visit Dominiqueracing.com and like her on Facebook.com.
Follow Rette Jones Racing on Twitter @RetteJones30.