The European NASCAR battle resumes in Brands Hatch
The iconic British track hosts the second edition of the hugely-popular American SpeedFest
It’s time for short track racing. After a memorable season opener in Valencia, the battle for the European NASCAR crown resumes this weekend on the famed 1.9 kilometers of the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit with four ultra-spectacular races and a american themed event.
Looking for favorites? That may be a hard task. This year the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series field is competitive like never before and there are at least 10 drivers that can legitimately aim for the top step of the podium. First in line is reigning champion Ander Vilarino (in photo, number 2 TFT-Banco Santander Chevrolet SS), who won 3 of the last 4 races at Brands Hatch and swept the British weekend last year: “The fans in Brands Hatch are incredibly passionate about NASCAR and I received a lot of messages on social networks from people looking forward to this event,” said the Spaniard. “The races are always very tight and it’s difficult to pass without a little contact. I love the track and I expect to do very well this weekend”.
Sitting atop the standings is the PK Carsport duo formed by Bert Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) and Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS). Both Belgian drivers will definitely aim for their first NASCAR win and to keep the lead in the championship: “Qualifying will be extremely important because being out of the top-5 will make it almost impossible to get a good result, so I will try push like hell to go to for the pole again. I never raced in Brands Hatch but I love the atmosphere of the classic british circuits and the fans. I never raced in Brands Hatch but I love the atmosphere of the classic british circuits and the fans,” said Longin. “Based on how it went in last year, it will be a great event and NASCAR is growing bigger and bigger every day here in Belgium too”.
“I really like how the the championship is going. I know the track pretty well because I raced there a lot in the past and it is also the only circuit in the calendar we already tested with a NASCAR car. I hope we can keep the lead in the standings, but the level of competition is very high and everything will have to be perfect,” continued Kumpen.
Eddie Cheever III (#51 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) earned his first top-5 in his debut in Valencia and will look to improve his third position in the standings and stretch his lead in the Jerome Sarran Trophy, while Valencia’s Saturday Race winner Yann Zimmer (#3 TFT-Moser Vernet Ford Mustang) – also a Jerome Sarran Trophy contender – will want to close the gap from the leaders. The list is not finished and includes Mathias Lauda (#66 DF1 Racing by B66 Chevrolet SS) and his teammate Christophe Bouchut (#77 DF1 Racing by B66 Chevrolet SS), fourth and fifth in the standings, 2013 poleman Frederic Gabillon (#12 Still Racing Chevrolet Camaro), Freddy Nordstrom (#44 Still Racing Chevrolet Camaro) and Borja Garcia (#1 Ford Autolix Competition Ford Mustang). Back will also be 2012 race winner Javier Villa (#4 Ford Autolix Competition Ford Mustang) and multiple podium finisher Romain Thievin (#9 Exotics Racing by Still Ford Mustang).
Same situation in the ELITE 2 division: with Valencia dominator Neal Van Vaerenbergh absent, everybody else will want to take advantage, starting from Marsilio Canuti (#77 DF1 Racing by B66), Maxime Dumarey (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) and Phillip Lietz (#86 TB Renauer Motorsport), but keep a close eye to Wilfried Boucenna (#33 Overdrive Chevrolet SS) and Young Drivers Program rookie Thomas Ferrando (#22 Overdrive Chevrolet Camaro).
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series grid will be even more international, thanks to the addition of the American VGJL Motorsports, founded by Victor Gonzalez Jr. (17 VGJL-Alpinestars Toyota Camry) and Sprint Cup crew chief Joe Lax, Finnish driver Markus Palltala (#46 RCP-Marc VDS Toyota Camry) and Dominican Miguel Martinez Portillo (#4 Ford Autolix Competition Ford Mustang).
If the first edition of the American Speedfest in 2013 was a great success, drawing a huge crowd to the hilly Kent circuit, this time the American-themed event organized by MSV promises to be even bigger and better thanks to car displays – with a special focus on the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang and the 45th anniversary of the Ford GT40’s first win in Le Mans –, rock and country music concerts, monster trucks exhibitions, dragster demos and most of all NASCAR short-track racing.
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