If the opening round of the 2022 season is an indicator of what we’ll see in the other five events before crowning this year’s EuroNASCAR champion, we can expect fireworks. Nicolo Rocca will lead the standings entering the NASCAR GP UK at Brands Hatch out on top of an eventful NASCAR GP Spain at Valencia.
Veterans Nicolo Rocca and Alon Day split the Spanish weekend’s wins not without some drama and before that Alexander Graff recorded his first ever EuroNASCAR PRO Pole Award on Saturday for Speedhouse. Rocca holds a 1-point advantage on Day ahead of the Brands Hatch American SpeedFeest, Graff follows in third, 8 points behind the leader. Eight different teams are represented in the top-10, a testament to the parity reigning in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
In the first race of the season, Rocca, driving for CAAL Racing, made a perfect start to take the lead immediately and bring home the first win of the season ahead of Tobias Dauenhauer – the German scored a podium finish in his first EuroNASCAR PRO race – and Graff, who also climbed on the podium to earn his best career result in his debut with Speedhouse. Day started from 16th on the grid after his best lap was disallowed in Qualifying, but carved his way through the field to ultimately finish fourth under the checkered flag ahead of EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Martin Doubek.
EuroNASCAR PRO Round 2 was a rollercoaster of emotions: Day was battling with Gianmarco Ercoli for the win all race long. Ercoli was handed a 5-second penalty for exceeding track limits in his defense of the first place, making Day the virtual leader of the race. On a late restart though, the Israeli accelerated too early and passed the leader before the start-finish line, triggering a penalty himself and handing Rocca, who crossed the finish line in third place, what seemed to be his second consecutive win of the weekend.
But the eventful afternoon was not finished yet. Investigating after the checkered flag, Race Control overturned both Day and Ercoli’s penalties. Evidence proved that Day accelerated because the green flag was waved before the leading pair entered the restart zone and Ercoli didn’t commit as many track limits infringements as reported to the stewards. Day was therefore declared the winner ahead of Ercoli and Rocca.
The battle for the EuroNASCAR title will now resume at Brands Hatch on June 11-12. The Indy Circuit saw Day win 4 times – as in Valencia, he needs just one more to tie Ander Vilarino’s all-time record – and Ercoli one, while Rocca is still looking to avenge a bitter memory from 2015, when he went off track while holding a comfortable lead at the British track. Since then, the Italian earned two podium finishes at the Indy Circuit but never a win.
Brands Hatch always hosts intense, hard-fought races and with tens of thousands of fans expected to flock the Indy Circuit for the ninth edition of the American SpeedFest, fireworks – literal and metaphorical – are expected on and around the track. Qualifying and all races from the June 11-12 NASCAR GP UK will be broadcasted live on the EuroNASCAR Youtube channel as well as on Motorsport.tv, Motorvision TV, MS MotorTV and more broadcasting services all over the world.