Oval racing comeback: Raceway Venray welcomes EuroNASCAR for one of the season’s highlights 

Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will celebrate a milestone comeback at Raceway Venray on June 29-30, when Europe’s official NASCAR Series will return to racing on an oval circuit. The unique short track in the Netherlands last hosted a EuroNASCAR event in 2019, producing thrilling, exciting and spectacular side-by-side battles in the steep turns with up to 25 degrees of banking. A special format will make the NASCAR Oval GP a must-see before the summer break of the 2024 NWES season.

Raceway Venray is a typical half-mile short track based on US NASCAR ovals like Bristol or Martinsville. The asphalt track features a 25-degree progressive banking and two racing lines that will make the two races a multi-groove spectacle. A special condensed format will provide two days filled with non-stop action: on Saturday, the EuroNASCAR 2 gladiators will take to the track for Free Practice, single-car Qualifying and a 70-lap race. On Sunday, EuroNASCAR PRO drivers do the same with a 100-lap race, rounding out a full weekend of racing. In addition to EuroNASCAR, several Autospeedway classes will race on the small oval to give fans even more oval racing action to enjoy.

EuroNASCAR PRO: Ghirelli motivated to win again

Vittorio Ghirelli travels to Venray as the EuroNASCAR PRO championship leader. The Italian from Fasano has already won four races in the 2024 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season and finished in the top-10 in every one of them. The PK Carsport driver is on the hunt for the EuroNASCAR PRO title with all the right weapons: speed, consistency and the will to get the most out of his #24 Chevrolet Camaro. In 2019, Ghirelli won his oval debut at Raceway Venray in EuroNASCAR 2, so he’ll be among the favorites when the green flag drops on Sunday.

But there are plenty of challengers looking to knock Ghirelli off the throne. Gianmarco Ercoli is second in the standings, just eleven points behind his compatriot. The CAAL Racing driver is still looking for his first win at Raceway Venray, but the Rome native has plenty of oval racing experience under his belt, having raced at Raceway Venray and even won a EuroNASCAR 2 race at Tours Speedway earlier in his career. Third in points is Liam Hezemans, who will make his oval racing debut in EuroNASCAR in June. The Junior Trophy leader is 14 points behind Ghirelli and is looking to capture the red Whelen banner for the overall championship in front of his home crowd.

Paul Jouffreau stands just five points behind in fourth place overall and second in the Junior Trophy for under-25 drivers. The Frenchman is a newcomer to oval racing and will be looking to adapt as quickly as possible to this tough challenge. Martin Doubek in eighth and Thomas Krasonis in ninth have both experienced oval racing in the USA when they raced at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida. This could give the two stars a slight advantage over their rivals in the Netherlands.

All eyes will be on 3F Racing’s Ryan Vargas. The American grew up on short tracks and is the most experienced oval racer on the grid. With hundreds of laps in the NASCAR Truck and Xfinity Series under his belt, Vargas is looking to become the first American NASCAR driver to win an oval race in NASCAR’s official European championship. Big names like Bobby Labonte, Myatt Snider, and the Canadian Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve have tried their best, but never made it to Victory Lane despite strong efforts on Europe’s ovals. Max Lanza leads the Challenger Trophy for elite amateurs by just three points over Thomas Toffel but will miss the Dutch weekend, leaving the door open to the Swiss.

EuroNASCAR 2: Doubek on fire

Like Ghirelli in EuroNASCAR PRO, there’s one driver dominating the action in EuroNASCAR 2: 2021 EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Martin Doubek. The Czech from Litomysl has won four races so far, but crashed out of Sunday’s race at Brands Hatch. As a result, the Hendriks Motorsport driver is only 15 points ahead of teammate Gil Linster. While Doubek has bad memories of Raceway Venray with not a single top-10 result in his resume, Linster is considered an oval racing expert. This could make for another tough battle between the Czech and the Luxembourger.

Linster raced in the ARCA Menards Series at Daytona in 2024 and impressed with a strong seventh-place finish. The winner of the Valencia race also gained a lot of experience on short tracks in the USA and raced regularly at Raceway Venray in another series. The driver from Frisange could therefore be the favorite on the EuroNASCAR 2 grid for the 70-lap race. Toffel is third and still improving. After making the transition from bike racing to auto racing, the Swiss driver must now adapt to the unique character of oval racing in order to stay in contention for the title.

Patrick Schober is also new to oval racing, but the Austrian, who is fourth in the overall standings, will be looking to recover from a nasty crash at Vallelunga to make up ground in the standings. Thomas Krasonis, a specialist in oval racing, is in fifth place. The Greek scored his maiden NWES podium finish at Brands Hatch and started from pole for the first time in his career. The Marko Stipp Motorsport driver is hungry to take the next step and get his first NASCAR win. Michael Bleekemolen leads the Legend Trophy for drivers 40 and older in eighth place. The 74-year-old relies on the oval racing experience of his team.

The battle for the Rookie Trophy is very close: Julien Rehberg and Florian Richard are tied on points, while Mario Ercoli is lurking in third place, just nine points behind the class leaders. All of them will be taking their first steps in oval racing at Raceway Venray, and the one who adapts best to the challenge could be the lone Trophy leader in the summer break. Arianna Casoli loves oval racing and the Speedhouse driver is ready to win another Lady Trophy in the Netherlands.

The 2024 NASCAR Oval GP at Raceway Venray will take place June 29-30. Qualifying and both races from the Netherlands will be streamed live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel and multiple television networks around the world. Tickets for the event will only be available at the track on race weekend. So buckle up and get ready for the thrill of US NASCAR-style oval racing in Europe.


Austrian GT ace – Constantin Scholl will make his EuroNASCAR and oval racing debut with Bremotion at Raceway Venray. The Austrian has a wealth of GT racing experience and will share the #77 Chevrolet with Julien Rehberg.

Gordon Barnes goes ENPRO – Three-time and reigning Club Challenge Champion Gordon Barnes will make his EuroNASCAR PRO debut with Double V Racing at Raceway Venray. The Brit has plenty of oval racing experience.

New face from the UK – Jack Davidson’s race win at Brands Hatch shook up the British motorsport world. His team Lux Motorsport has confirmed Liam Lambert in EuroNASCAR PRO for the oval races at Raceway Venray, increasing the number of cars to 21.


Double or nothing – Ryan Vargas will compete in both divisions at Raceway Venray, making his EuroNASCAR 2 debut. The American will be looking to maximize his chances of becoming the first American NASCAR driver to win a EuroNASCAR oval race.

Federico Monti back – Academy / Alex Caffi Motorsport co-owner Federico Monti is focusing on his Club Challenge campaign, but for the oval races at Raceway Venray, the Italian will share the #1 Ford Mustang with Vladimiros Tziortzis to compete in his first career NWES oval race in EuroNASCAR 2.

Miguel Gomes comeback – A total of 20 drivers will take to the track in EuroNASCAR 2, promising spectacular and close racing at Raceway Venray with speeds in excess of 200 km/h and average speeds above 160 km/h per lap.


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