The drivers and teams of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) made a virtual trip to the other side of the Atlantic for the the third round of the EuroNASCAR Esports Series (ENES) at the iconic Watkins Glen International. More than 70 drivers from all over the world entered the event but only 60 spots were available for the event that was broadcasted live on Tuesday on EuroNASCAR’s social media channels. The fans again enjoyed exciting battles throughout the field and it was Autodrom Most’s guest simracing ace Michal Smidl who took a flawless win on the iconic track in the state of New York.
Driving the #420 Bohematic Autodrom Most NASCAR Show car and strong of his long and successful sim racing career, Michal Smidl was simply impeccable. The Czech grabbed the pole position and won the first heat race of the evening ahead of ENES Prologue winner Andre Castro. The Autodrom Most representative then proceeded to lead from flag to flag the 30-minutes Main Event race, finishing 1.7 seconds aehad of EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Lasse Soerensen.
"All in all it was a great race for me," said Smidl, who became the third different winner in three ENES races. "It was crucial to have a good first lap and I had it. The biggest challenge was the traffic during the races. It’s not easy to get through the back markers without any scratches on your car. I tried to keep it safe and in the end it worked out. I’m really happy about winning the race for the Autodrom Most."
A fierce three-way battle for second
Smidl also took advantage of the spectacular three-way battle breaking out behind him for second place. Second in Heat 1, DF1 Racing driver Lasse Soerensen was impressive in fending off every attack brought by EuroNASCAR PRO champion Loris Hezemans and his Hendriks Motorsport crew chief Jeffrey Roeffen.
The Dane won the fight on his #66 DF1 Racing Camaro and finished second ahead of Hezemans and Roeffen, while some other big names like Brands Hatch winner Guillaume Deflandre, and Prologue winner Andre Castro suffered a huge setback. Both, together with many others, were involved in a big one at the Esses on the first lap of the Main Event.
A tight battle atop the standings
Soerensen is leading the championships after the second round by a margin of 3 points on Alon Day and 4 points on the reigning NWES champion Hezemans. Roeffen follows in fourth ahead of Castro. 21 drivers are separated by only 40 markers, the number of points a driver receives for a race win. With three different winners in three ENES races – including the Prologue – the championship is set to become one of the most exciting and tight in the virtual racing world.
Huge comeback for Alon Day
Two-time NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion Day experienced a rollercoaster of emotions during the whole event. In the second heat, which was won by Roeffen, the Israeli fell to the back of the field after ending up in the barriers in turn one at the start. Day fought his way up the eleventh but missed the qualification for the main race by just one position.
Drama struck again in the Last Chance Qualifier for the Ashdod native. Day was involved in another contact at the start and stormed back to third, earning the 33rd spot on the grid for the Main Event, in which he somehow dodged the big one and climbed back to eighth behind Andreas Jochimsen, Lorenzo Marcucci and Ulysse Delsaux. The four bonus points for the most positions gained in the race put Day in second place in the championship. The top-10 was closed by Davide Dallara in ninth and Alex Fontana in tenth position.
A solid debut for Brett Moffitt
2018 NASCAR Gander & RV Outdoors Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt was among the international stars featured in the list of the third round of the EuroNASCAR Esports Series. Driving the #423 FJ All Star car, the American NASCAR driver ended up 19th under the checkered flag after finishing 9th in the second heat race.
"These guys have a lot of speed, I have to find better friends to practice with I guess," laughed the Grimes, Iowa native. "It was great to be in the EuroNASCAR Esports Series for this race, the competition is really deep and we were all separated by a couple of hundredths of a second all the way down the order. You have to be on your A-game to do well in these races."
Asked if Moffitt would join the NWES for a real race in his career, he answered: "I would love the opportunity to join you guys in real life as well for a NASCAR Whelen Euro Series event and experience some of your culture and of course join the ENES again down the road. I’m still a little bit new to iRacing and I love racing every time I can."
MotoGP rider and Circuit Ricardo Tormo representative Iker Lecuona was caught in contact and finished 27th in the Last Chance Qualifier at the wheel of his #427 Fordzilla Mustang. The same fate hit three-time NASCAR Peak Mexico Series Champion Ruben Garcia, Jr. and the #488 FJ All Star Mustang. Jakub Krafek ended up 12th in the LCQ on the second Autodrom Most car, just ahead of Philipp Bereswill on the #479 Hockenheimring American Fan Fest Camaro.
Next stop: Circuit Zandvoort
The EuroNASCAR Esports Series will be back with a actionpacked event on Tuesday, May 18th at 20:00 CEST with a very special debut at the Circuit Park Zandvoort, Netherlands. The three 10-minute heats, the Last Chance Qualifier and the 30-minute main race will be broadcasted live on EuroNASCAR’s Youtube channel, Facebook page, Twitch profile and on Motorsport.tv.