It’s time for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series to close the regular season on October 8-9 at Circuit Zolder in Belgium. Two races in each championship – EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 – will mark a crucial point of the season as all drivers will drop their two worst results ahead of the October 29-30 NWES Finals at Automotodrom Grobnik, awarding double-points to crown the EuroNASCAR champion.
Circuit Zolder, the legendary track in the woods of Limburg, has been part of the EuroNASCAR schedule since 2015 and hosted the EuroNASCAR Finals five times. For the second consecutive time, Circuit Zolder is home of the regular season finale with its rollercoaster-like straights and twisty turns. The four kilometer long track was opened in 1963 and hosted a total of twelve Formula One Grand Prix between 1973 and 1984.
EuroNASCAR PRO: Opportunities for Graff, Maggi and Rocca
The current championship leader Alon Day is on the hunt for a record breaking fourth NASCAR Whelen Euro Series title in EuroNASCAR PRO, but the Israeli will miss the NASCAR GP Belgium. Dropping the two Zolder results, he already knows he will enter the Finals with 272 points. If he will stay in the lead it will be up to his rivals. The situation will open the door for Brands Hatch race winner Alexander Graff, Junior Trophy leader Giorgio Maggi and Valencia race winner Nicolo Rocca to take over the lead with a double victory in Belgium. Day will be replaced by his teamboss Anthony Kumpen, who’s set for his NWES comeback.
Currently sitting in second, 16 points behind Day, Graff impressed with his consistency so far and even scored his maiden NASCAR win at the Indy Circuit of Brands Hatch in July. The Speedhouse driver from Uppsala, Sweden started four races at Zolder in his career and a fourth place in 2018 is his personal best so far.
Maggi is the dominant force in the Junior Trophy for drivers aged 25 and under, but the Swiss is also eyeing the overall championship while he sits in third of the overall standings. The Race Art Technology driver has found consistency in 2022 and looks poised to grab his first EuroNASCAR PRO win. The 2019 EuroNASCAR 2 runner-up is currently 38 points down on Day.
After returning to Victory Lane in the Valencia season opener, Nicolo Rocca is racing once again for the championship and would jump back to the top of the standings with a double win in Belgium, despite some recent disappointments in Vallelunga and Most. The Italian won at five different tracks in his career, but Zolder is not one of them – his best result was a third place in 2016.
But there are also other drivers, who will give their best to join the top-4 with strong results at Circuit Zolder, like Martin Doubek, who sits fourth in points, tied with Rocca. With Frederic Gabillon, Italy race winner Gianmarco Ercoli and Most winner Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, there are more drivers capable of joining the battle for the beautiful Tijey Trophy. The Marko Stipp Motorsport duo of Romain Iannetta and Yevgen Sokolovskiy, who’s in the lead in the Challenger Trophy ranks, close a top-10 separated by less than 100 points.
EuroNASCAR 2: All eyes on Alberto Naska
Alberto Naska is the man to beat in the 2022 EuroNASCAR 2 season. The newcomer from Italy not only leads the Rookie Trophy but also the overall championship standings. The CAAL Racing driver collected five wins so far and therefore tops the ranks with 302 points on his tally. He’s followed by Liam Hezemans, the younger brother of two-time NWES Champion and current NASCAR Cup Series driver Loris Hezemans. The Dutch Hendriks Motorsport rookie is only 46 points down on Naska.
Experience could come into play when tempers rise and the stakes are high. This might be the chance for reigning EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Martin Doubek to defend his title. The Czech is 52 points behind Naska and could carve his way back to the top with strong results at Circuit Zolder – the track he scored his maiden win at back in 2020. Another experienced driver follows in fourth: Vladimiros Tziortzis. The Cypriot is a true title contender but some adverse situations left him one point behind Doubek entering the regular season finale.
Paul Jouffreau completes the overall top-5 and sits in third in the Rookie Trophy. The Frenchman is eager to defend his podium position in the special classification for newcomers in EuroNASCAR 2. 2018 EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Ulysse Delsaux follows in sixth, 80 points down to Naska. Yevgen Sokolovskiy is leading the Legend Trophy for drivers aged 40 and more in seventh overall ahead of Gil Linster. Patrick Schober is ninth and set to overcome the 23-point gap on Jouffreau to make it into the Rookie Trophy top-3. Luli Del Castello is the best Lady Trophy driver just six points ahead of Aliyyah Koloc.
The NASCAR GP Belgium will kick off on Thursday with the Club Challenge – the regularity based series in EuroNASCAR – on the track. Gordon Barnes will try to defend his lead against Federico Monti, Neo Lambert and Julian Vanheelen. All races on Saturday and Sunday will be broadcasted live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and plenty of TV services from around the world.
Two returning drivers for PK Carsport – PK Carsport will field two cars in its home race Zolder. While Anthony Kumpen will drive the #24 Chevrolet Camaro, Pol van Pollaert will make his EuroNASCAR comeback at the wheel of the #11 car.
Two newcomers join NWES – Thomas Dombrowski (Team Bleekemolen) and Remo Lips (Racingfuel Motorsport) will both enter a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series race for the first time.
Attianese returns – After racing at Vallelunga in the NASCAR GP Italy, Stefano Attianese will return behind the wheel of the #27 Double V Racing machine.
Melvin de Groot is back – After skipping the Most event, Melvin de Groot is back on the track to contend for the Legend Trophy. The Dutchman already won four races in the special classification this year.
Kenko Miura pulling double duties – NWES returnee Kenko Miura will take the wheel of the new #74 Toyota Camry in both championships. It’s the first time that the Japanese will compete as a driver and team boss of Team Japan Needs24.
Christian Malcharek moves to the #11 car – With the comeback of Kumpen, Christian Malcharek will move to the #11 Chevrolet Camaro to share the PK Carsport car with Pol van Pollaert.