Race fans are an integral part of NASCAR all over the world and make every racing weekend a unique experience. With the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series traveling around Europe, the passion for NASCAR racing is stronger than ever in the Old Continent and Roland Stanetzky’s story is a perfect example of the special atmosphere permeating the paddock.
Roland is a NASCAR fan since the early 90’s, when he discovered NASCAR racing on the German television and was hooked from the very first minute. After years of watching races on TV, he discovered the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, which is brightening his life even in dark times.
Roland is dealing with serious health issues, but he still does everything to go to the race track, accompanied by his beloved wife Uschi. His passion drives him to the most iconic tracks around Europe to hear and feel the V8 beasts.
"I grew up a motor racing fan in the former DDR, which I was able to leave in 1969," said the 68-year-old German enthusiast. "Since then I discovered several categories like Formula 1 and DTM and I saw Ellen Lohr racing in her early years. In the 90’s I discovered NASCAR on the German television and I caught the NASCAR bug right from the first lap. I always had the wish to go to the US to visit a NASCAR race, but I never managed to do it because of my job. Now with Euro NASCAR I can live my passion."
At Venray, for the last round of the NWES regular season, Roland brought some special gifts for Euro NASCAR President – CEO Jerome Galpin, NASCAR’s Director of International Competition Joe Balash, teams, drivers and people who are involved in the series: handcrafted mirrors combining his passion for motor racing with his artistic talent.
"I was told by a friend to come to Venray about four years ago. He told me about the V8 racing here at this beautiful track. This oval is unique in Europe. You’ll get dust in your face, you’ll find tire bits everywhere on your body. If you love motorsport, you have to give Euro NASCAR a try. This is motorsport you really feel a part of. You get access to the boxes, you can touch the cars and talk to every driver," continued Roland. "That’s why I fabricated those mirrors for different people, teams and drivers. I really love to see happiness in their eyes, when they receive them."
At Raceway Venray Euro NASCAR offered Roland the opportunity of a lifetime: right before the Free Practice session on Sunday he was allowed to ride as a passenger in the Whelen pace car to be part of the installation laps in the morning. The German NASCAR fan was ecstatic after his ride around the high-banked oval track in the Netherlands.
"The pace car ride was awesome and it was unique to feel the banking of those exciting turns and I didn’t want it to end. It was a great day for me and I really enjoyed every second. I want to be at Hockenheim and Zolder, too," concluded Roland.
Euro NASCAR wishes Roland a speedy recovery and everybody hopes to see him at the iconic Hockenheimring on September 21-22, when the German track will host the first leg 2019 NWES playoffs.