Alon Day wrote another page of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series history at the Automotodrom Grobnik: the Israeli ended up third in a wild EuroNASCAR PRO Final 2 in Croatia to score his record-breaking fourth European NASCAR Championship win. The PK Carsport driver experienced a rollercoaster of emotions during the 17-lap showdown between himself and Gianmarco Ercoli, who was in a must-win situation in the championship battle. Patrick Lemarie won the race to become the 26th different EuroNASCAR PRO race winner in history.
Day had to finish the race inside the top-5 to secure the championship win but Ercoli was eager to push the winningest driver in NWES off the throne. Polesitter Giorgio Maggi defended his lead on lap 1 with Day following in second right ahead of Ercoli. The latter promised to go “full attack” and didn’t pull back. The Italian threw a passing attempt in turn 14 on Day. Ercoli took over second after making contact with the Israeli, who was shuffled down the order to fifth position.
Day was still in front in the overall standings and Ercoli was pushing to get past Maggi at the front. Several crashes led to numerous cautions in the race and the whole field was bunched up again and again for double file restarts. In the latest one, Ercoli finally managed to overtake Maggi for first, but with Day still in fifth, the PK Carsport driver was still in the championship lead. The championship was decided when Maggi and Ercoli made contact in the battle for first and both drivers fell down the running order. Day then cruised to third under the checkered flag to win the title.
“I did it, I couldn’t do it without PK Carsport! I think this is the moment to really say thanks to everybody in the team: Anthony for giving me the opportunity to drive here and every person in this team that worked from day to night! Thanks a lot, they deserved this championship more than I do! Now it’s time to celebrate it with my wife on my honeymoon, as I promised a long time ago!” said Day about his record-breaking fourth EuroNASCAR title victory.
At the front, it was Lemarie who made it to Victory Lane. It was the maiden EuroNASCAR PRO win for the 54-year-old, who became the oldest race winner in the premier division in European NASCAR racing. He broke the record of Jacques Villeneuve, who scored two wins in the 2021 EuroNASCAR PRO season at the age of 50. The Academy Motorsport / Alex Caffi Motorsport driver ended a season with ups and downs but a strong pace on a high note. Valencia race winner Nicolo Rocca finished second.
“That was a great feeling! I’m so happy, we had a strong weekend. From the beginning of the season we’ve been waiting for this kind of weekend, full of good results. I’m so happy for the team and for Federico Monti, it feels good to win!” said Lemarie after scoring his first career EuroNASCAR victory.
Reigning EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Martin Doubek followed in fourth, while title contender Alexander Graff rounded out the top-5. The latter scored enough points to overtake Ercoli in the overall standings and bring home the silver medal for Speedhouse Racing. The Swede won one race at Brands Hatch and showed great consistency over the year. His teammate Marc Goossens ended up sixth.
Henri Tuomaala was seventh under the checkered flag and therefore secured the top Challenger Trophy driver honor for the third time in his career. The Finn beat Max Lanza in the battle for the title dedicated to the bronze and silver driver in EuroNASCAR PRO. With another Challenger Trophy win, the race victory count for the winningest driver in the special classification went up to 20. Fabrizio Armetta was second in the Challenger Trophy ranks in eighth. The Italian bested Claudio Cappelli and Cosimo Barberini.
The Junior Trophy win went to Leonardo Colavita, who unfortunately was unable to finish the race after a late contact with Sebastiaan Bleekemolen. None of the drivers contesting for the Junior Trophy ultimately finished the race, but Maggi’s second place finish in the Trophy is enough to secure the overall victory in the special classification for drivers aged 25 years old and under. Liam Hezemans, the newly crowned EuroNASCAR 2 champion, completed the Junior Trophy podium.
With the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and the Fracasso NASCAR GP Croatia in the books, all eyes are on 2023 with a stellar calendar of six championship races and two All-Star events including one epic event – the first in NASCAR history – to be run on ice in Rovaniemi, Finland.
The teams, including all champions and Trophy winners, will celebrate their 2022 season at the Kvarna Hotel by Liburnia Hotels & Villas in Opatija, on the beautiful Croatian Riviera later this evening.