The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will return to Raceway Venray in the Netherlands this weekend for the only oval racing event of 2019 and the final stop of the regular season. Drivers will battle door-to-door on the fast half-mile banked oval to bring home the win and position themselves in the best possible spot for the NWES playoffs.
Built between 2010 and 2011, Raceway Venray measures 880 meters and features variable banking in the corners ranging from 10 to 25 degrees. With average speed exceeding the 160 Km/h mark, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series races offer the fans thrilling side-by-side racing in perfect NASCAR style. The series will introduce a new race format for its 2019 oval racing weekend: each division will take on a compact program, with practice, qualifying and race taking place in the same day. The ELITE 2 Division will race a 70-lap feature on Saturday, while the ELITE 1 Division’s race will take place on Sunday and will be 100-lap long.
For the first time in his career Stienes Longin enjoys the place on top of the ELITE 1 Division standings thanks to his impressive consistency. The Belgian won twice at Venray in ELITE 2 back in 2016 and the Dutch oval could be the perfect place to put an end to his streak of second-place finishes with a long-awaited win. Sitting second in points and eager to close the 17-point gap separating him from the lead, Longin’s teammate Nicolò Rocca is definitely looking forward to return to the place where he earned his first NWES win in 2015.
After a disastrous weekend in the Czech Republic, former points leader Alon Day is now third alongside Loris Hezemans, with a 29-point deficit from Longin. Both drivers are eager to shorten the distance from the PK Carsport duo, as is three-time champion Ander Vilarino, currently fifth in points ahead of Alexander Graff, Romain Iannetta and Lucas Lasserre. Brands Hatch race winner Frederic Gabillon sits in ninth place, 80 markers behind the leader, while Jacques Villeneuve, who endured a tough weekend last time out, slipped to 11th behind Thomas Ferrando.
Strong of his second career win, Giorgio Maggi leads the ELITE 2 Division classification entering the NASCAR GP Netherlands with 15 points on Vittorio Ghirelli. Maggi will return from the Goodwood Festival of Speed looking to further stretch his lead in an event in which experience may play a key role. Third and fourth in points, Advait Deodhar and Lasse Soerensen will both race on oval for the first time too, while American rookie Myatt Snider, who boasts four top-5s in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, will surely want to take advantage of a more familiar track layout to move up in the standings.
Justin Kunz will want to build on his past experience at the track – the German was 11th in both races at Venray in 2017 – and Andre Castro, Nicholas Risitano, Pierluigi Veronesi and Freddie Hemborg are all within 78 points from Maggi and looking to build momentum towards the playoffs.
Qualifying and all the races from the NASCAR GP Netherlands will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Youtube channel and Facebook page, on Motorsport.tv and on a vast network of websites and social media profiles.
ELITE 1 Division
Gabillon looking for another oval win – Frederic Gabillon is the winningest NWES driver on ovals with a total of six wins. Only one of them came at Venray in 2016, so the Frenchman will look to add to his tally and move nearer to the top of the standings before the playoffs.
Who can challenge Tuomaala? – With two more Challenger Trophy wins at Most, Henri Tuomaala brought his season total up to five. The Finnish increased his lead on Dario Caso to 37 points and on Ellen Lohr to 39. Can he be stopped?
Marko Stipp Motorsport back on the grid – The German team owned by Marko Stipp will be back on the grid in the Netherlands. At the wheel of the #46 Chevrolet Camaro will be Spanish veteran Salvador Tineo and American rookie Andre Castro.
ELITE 2 Division
Niels Albert to make NASCAR debut – Two-time Cyclocross World Champion Niels Albert will take the wheel of the #11 PK Carsport Chevrolet, making his NASCAR debut on Oval. The 33-year-old Belgian will count on the team’s experience to hit the ground running at Venray.
A new winner granted – None of the ELITE 2 drivers has ever won a race at Raceway Venray. The only three drivers boasting an ELITE 2 win at the Dutch track are Philipp Lietz, Stienes Longin and Felipe Rabello. Myatt Snider is the only driver in the division to boast an oval win.
Five rookies at the top – For the first time in the history of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, five rookies lead the ELITE 2 Division standings, separated by 54 points. The first veteran – Dexwet-Df1 Racing’s Justin Kunz – is tied for fifth place with Myatt Snider.