OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine — The nephew of a Sprint Cup star has been the primary driver for Archie St. Hilaire of Old Orchard Beach this season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
And an actress and former model on the TV game show “The Price is Right” is expected to earn some seat time for team owner St. Hilaire’s Go Green Racing team later this season.
Jeffrey Earnhardt, nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr., is 20th in the Nationwide Series points standings and has run in 10 of the 14 races so far this season. He drove in nine of those 10 races for Go Green Racing and one for his uncle’s JR Motorsports team.
He has three top-20 finishes for Go Green Racing including a season’s-best 16th at Talladega.
It is the most top-20s in the three years St. Hilaire has been involved in the Nationwide series.
Canadian Maryeve Dufault, who has run in the ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) series and has one career Nationwide start, has tested for St. Hilaire. She impressed him to the point where they have agreed to a deal that will give her at least one race in the No. 79 Ford.
She has appeared in several television shows and movies including Driven, Entourage, Relative Strangers and The Bold and the Beautiful as well as her Price is Right gig.
St. Hilaire has switched from a two-car team to a one-car team this season.
“We wanted to improve our points standings,” said St. Hilaire. “We want to finish in the top 20 so we decided to concentrate on one team. We had 19 drivers last year and we’re going to cut that down to five or six this season. “
In addition to Earnhardt, Kyle Fowler and Joey Gase have each run two races for St. Hilaire and Paulie Harraka has driven once for him. Bryan Silas, a full-time Craftsman Truck Series driver, will drive at Kentucky Speedway for St. Hilaire in the Nationwide car on Friday night.
His eventual goal is to have just one or two drivers for the 33 races next season.
St. Hilaire has hired fellow Old Orchard Beach native Brian Corcoran and Corcoran’s Shamrock Sports and Entertainment marketing company to help land sponsors for his team. The company is based in Portland.
Corcoran has an impressive resume that includes stints as the executive vice president for business development and motorsports for the Roush Fenway Sports Group and the managing director of corporate marketing for NASCAR. He also has been the director of sports development for Host Communications, a vice president for the SFX Sports Group, and a senior account executive for sponsorship and sales with CBS Sports.
While he was with NASCAR, he was one of the driving forces behind the union of Nextel and the Cup series in 2003.
Corcoran said he is really excited about his agreement with St. Hilaire.
“I can’t think of a better partner where we are in our growth. Shamrock is very well aligned to be an extension of his race team,” Corcoran said. “They are doing what they do best which is putting a quality product on the racetrack. It’s a passion play between Mainers working together on the global stage. And both of us have a passion for motorsports.”
The feeling is mutual.
“It’s great to work with somebody who is as excited about this as Brian,” said St. Hilaire.
Corcoran feels strongly that he has two extremely marketable personalities in Earnhardt and Dufault.
“The beauty of this is we have two very diverse (personalities),” said Corcoran. “You have the legacy of the Earnhardt family tied in with the outdoor lifestyle. Jeffrey is a man’s man. He loves to hunt and fish.
“On the other side, Maryeve is where speed meets a certain level of sexiness, in that order,” Corcoran added. “To her credit, she has worked hard to establishing herself (as a race car driver). She is at the cutting edge of having her coming-out party in NASCAR. She’s a lot more than just a pretty face.”
Corcoran also noted that Dufault is into fashion and physical fitness, which expands her marketability.
“She is on the heels of the trail blazed by Danica Patrick and this is a good opportunity to take advantage of that as well,” said Corcoran.
St. Hilaire has an underfunded team but he is making strides and would like to continue to do so. He is tied for 25th in owner points after finishing 31st a year ago.
“There are 18 (Sprint) Cup-affiliated teams in the series. It’s the toughest I’ve seen it,” said St. Hilaire.
He said the affiliated teams spend $150,000 per race while he spends $50,000.
“You get what you pay for. They get bigger motors and more high-end equipment (than we get),” said St. Hilaire, who considers it a “hobby although it is an expensive one.”
He spends $2 million a year to race in the Nationwide Series, he said.
His drivers have to come up with the money to race for him, whether through sponsorships or out of their own pocket.
He has his race shop in Mooresville, N.C., and his son, Mason, a recent University of Southern Maine graduate, runs the shop as the team’s general manager.
Archie St. Hilaire is devoting time to putting together a six-race Sprint Cup schedule. He has already had Brian Keselowski, defending Sprint Cup points champion Brad Keselowski’s brother, in his Sprint Cup Ford Fusion at the Richmond race and Harraka ran last Sunday’s race at Sonoma, Calif.
“I didn’t want to hand the Nationwide series team over to Mason without funding. I didn’t want him scrambling every weekend,” said Archie.