In 2020, with an ongoing pandemic, Igor Romanov from the Ukraine made his lifetime dream come true when he became a NASCAR driver. The 45-year-old joined Not Only Motorsport to compete in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series after a talk with 2000 NASCAR Cup Champion Bobby Labonte motivated him to chase his goals. Romanov took over the wheel of a 400hp V8 beast without any electronic aids and a H-pattern gearbox and made his debut in EuroNASCAR 2. A journalist by trade and a racer by passion back in his home country, Romanov carefully adapted to a new car and many new tracks to become a regular in the European NASCAR series.
The year 2021 represented another big step for the Ukrainian. In April he had a setback as he missed the EuroNASCAR season opener at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, due to a mild COVID-19 infection. Romanov recovered and then prepared for the second race weekend of the season at Brands Hatch. The gentleman driver was ready to make his first EuroNASCAR 2 start of the 2021 season, but then he was surprised by his team: he was promoted to the EuroNASCAR PRO Championship to compete with the best NASCAR drivers of the Old Continent.
The 1.94 kilometer long Indy Circuit at Brands Hatch was a tough challenge for Romanov, who had no experience at the iconic British venue, but the Kyiv native produced a valiant effort and carefully kept the car out of trouble. He wasn’t slow, but he also never wanted to get involved in the title battle as EuroNASCAR stars the likes of Alon Day, Loris Hezemans, Nicolo Rocca or Vittorio Ghirelli lapped Romanov on the short track. Romanov focussed on his performance and brought his Chevrolet Camaro to the checkered flag on Saturday.
“It was a very challenging weekend for me”, said Romanov. “I’ve learnt just a few days before the race that I was promoted to EuroNASCAR PRO by my team Not Only Motorsport. The strongest and fastest drivers compete in this championship, all of whom I have to learn from. It was very exciting and an incredible experience for me.” While he finished in 19th on Saturday, the race on Sunday ended for Romanov on lap 6 due to “a lost gear” that threw him into the gravel trap.
Despite the tough challenge at Brands Hatch, the Ukrainian enjoyed every second of his first EuroNASCAR PRO weekend. A few weeks before the NASCAR GP UK, Romanov made another NASCAR milestone in his life. The journalist and TV moderator was chosen to become the official NASCAR commentator in Ukraine. Romanov is not only a NASCAR driver but also the sport’s expert in the country, which makes him a true specialist – on and off track.
On August 28-29, Romanov will compete at the NASCAR GP Czech Republic at Autodrom Most. Qualifying and all races will be broadcasted live on all EuroNASCAR social media platforms – YouTube, Facebook, Twitch – and Motorsport.tv.