Photo: Scott LePage
By: Kobe Lambeth
After competing in select ARCA races over the past few seasons, California native, Leilani Münter will return to the Daytona International speedway to take part in the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire on Saturday, February 18th, which is the season opener of the ARCA Racing Series.
Münter will drive the No. 15 Vegan Powered Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports. This is currently the only scheduled ARCA race for Münter in 2017.
“I started racing with Venturini Motorsports in 2014 and I have been dreaming of racing a vegan-themed race car for 5 years now, since I went vegan,” Münter told Daily NASCAR Scoop and More. “Last summer I received the Vegan Athlete of the Year Award at the Animal Rights National Conference in Los Angeles and in my acceptance speech about this little dream I had. A few weeks later I got a call from a non-profit in DC called A Well-Fed World to tell me they wanted to sponsor the vegan racecar.
“They are a hunger relief and animal protection non-profit organization addressing two of the world’s most immense and unnecessary forms of suffering – the suffering of people hungry from lack of food, and the suffering of animals abused for food.
Münter is very active within the community outside of the stock car racing world. There are plenty of commitments outside of driving stock cars on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway.
“I hold a degree is in biology specializing in ecology, behavior, and evolution from the University of California in San Diego,” said Münter. “I am an environmental and animal rights advocate and I use my voice to raise awareness for these issues with the public and the government.
“I fight for clean energy, electric cars, plant-based diets, and animal rights. I am on
the board of Oceanic Preservation Society, makers of the Academy Award-winning documentary film The Cove and the Emmy-nominated film Racing Extinction, which I worked on for four years. I am also on the advisory board of The Solutions Project which works to accelerate the adoption of clean energy in the United States. I also am an ambassador for Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project which is fighting to end the dolphin slaughter and dolphin captivity industry.”
The season opener of the ARCA Racing Series at Daytona International Speedway is approaching. Leilani Münter is confident of her chances on race day although the team mostly focused on single car runs during the test sessions.
“I didn’t draft a lot so we weren’t at the top of the board but we had a very fast car,” said Münter. “Venturini always gives me fast cars and Jeff McClure is an awesome crew chief, I love working with him.
“He’s smart and he’s a race driver himself so he knows what I need to do out there and he’s a good communicator. We will be fast in February.”
Sometimes, it can be difficult juggling the duties of being a racecar driver and business commitments, but does Münter have time to relax and take it easy?
“My activism takes up a lot of my spare time – I just recently got back from documenting the dolphin slaughter in Japan,” said Münter. “For relaxation, I love to travel and I have been a scuba diver since I was in high school.
“I also love taking photographs. Last year I was so happy that my environmental
work took me to both Africa and Australia and I was able to see some incredible wild animals I had never seen before the only way I think we should – wild and free. I took so many photos I needed a new hard drive.”
The green flag of the Lucas Oil 200 Driven by General Tire is scheduled to drop Saturday, February 18th, @4:15 pm EST.