Miguel Gomes had long dreamed to drive on the legendary Daytona International Speedway and he finally got a chance to make it into reality in mid January. The Portuguese driver made his United States debut as he became the latest EuroNASCAR driver to make the trip to NASCAR’s home country and try out America’s breed of stock cars through his participation in the ARCA Menards Series’ pre-season test with Fast Track Racing.
Gomes’ participation in the test was made possible thanks to the help provided by the team that gave him his debut in EuroNASCAR: Marko Stipp Motorsport. The German team made contacts with Andy Hillenburg’s Fast Track Racing on the build-up to the test and an agreement was reached which saw Gomes added to Fast Track’s thirteen driver roster for the test.
“The best word to describe the experience is ‘overwhelming’, different from anything I’ve done before!” said Gomes on the test. “To be able to drive in the legendary oval of Daytona and participate in an event of a series with so much history, working together with a team like Fast Track Racing owned by Andy Hillenburg, a champion himself who also won in this track, was a privilege. I have to thank Marko Stipp Motorsport once again for putting us in contact.”
Gomes has driven at the virtual version of Daytona many times before through simulation games such as iRacing, but the experience of actually driving in the Super Speedway oval itself gave him an unexpected surprise. “The first time you go out on the track you don’t believe it’s possible to go full throttle there, your body keeps telling you it’s not. But then you try for the first time and the car sticks, from there it’s an amazing feeling to go wide open all the way!” said the Portuguese.
Gomes added that the purpose of the test was to see if he was ready to race in ARCA, something that he was declared ready for based on the results – a lap time of 51.470 seconds. The Portuguese driver would love to make his return to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2023, which starts on 6-7 May with the Valencia NASCAR Fest at Circuit Ricardo Tormo. All qualifying and race sessions for the 2023 season will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services from all round the world.