“It went well from the beginning”, said Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, who scored his first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series podium finish at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in the second round of the EuroNASCAR PRO season. The team owned by Sebastiaan and his father Michael had a difficult debut season in 2019 and sat out the 2020 championship due to the pandemic but is now back on the grid – stronger than ever before. The key to success was a well balanced setup for the #69 Team Bleekemolen Ford Mustang.
While some technical issues put him three laps down at the end of Round 1, Sebastiaan Bleekemolen managed to clock a solid lap that granted him sixth place on the grid for the second EuroNASCAR PRO race on Sunday. The Dutchman had a good start and defended his sixth position on the first lap. On lap 2, he took advantage of Alon Day’s ride in the gravel and got past Nicolo Rocca at the wheel of the #22 DF1 Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
Bleekemolen was already in fourth after two laps and started working on EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Vittorio Ghirelli and his #50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang. The decisive move came in the penultimate lap of the 18-lap race, when the Aerdenhout-native made a strong move on the Italian to take over third place. He crossed the finish line ahead of Ghirelli and scored his first ever NASCAR Whelen Euro Series podium finish.
“Actually there is no real secret for our good performance, but we did really well from the beginning”, said Bleekemolen after the event. “I think we had a really good setup and we had a solid testing day in Zolder. A lot of competitors were struggling with understeering but we found something for the front of the car that worked well. The car was pretty good at the front so maybe this helped us a little bit.”
“We had a tough 2019 season as we struggled with the brakes for five or six races”, the Dutchman continued, who’s 10th in the overall standings after the first event. “The best result was a fifth place in Most and now a third place in Valencia is just nice. Last year we didn’t do anything with the car, so we started again this year. For me it was a nice race. I was kind of in a sandwich after the start in turn 1 so I backed off a little bit.”
“I got past some cars easily and the overtaking maneuver on the #50 car in the penultimate lap was awesome. I forced him into a small mistake and I think he thought I would overtake him in the last turn. He started to defend and that was not a good idea as he entered the start-finish straight with not much speed so I was able to overtake him at turn 1. It was a nice move I think and very fair. We touched a little bit in turn 2 but that’s NASCAR racing. I was very happy afterwards and I was shouting in the cockpit: ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’. It was nice to stand on the NWES podium for the first time.”
The next race will be held at the technical track of Brands Hatch, a circuit Bleekemolen never had a good result at – whether in 2019 nor in 1996 in a Formula Ford. The 42-year-old is hungry for more and aims for top-6 and top-8 results in Great Britain.
All races from the NASCAR GP UK will be broadcasted live on EuroNASCAR’s social media profiles – YouTube, Facebook, Twitch – and Motorsport.tv.