Nina Weinbrenner Thomas Dombrowski Valencia 2023

Victory sweep: Thomas Dombrowski dominates the Rookie Trophy battle in Valencia

The start of Thomas Dombrowski’s 2023 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season couldn’t have gone any better. After making several appearances in the 2022 season, the Frenchman made his full-time debut in the season opening round, the NASCAR GP Spain at Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo, and dominated the Rookie Trophy battle in EuroNASCAR 2. With two wins in the category, Dombrowski set the benchmark in the special classification for drivers making their NASCAR debut in the EuroNASCAR 2 division.

The driver of the #66 Chevrolet Camaro for Team Bleekemolen initially lost out to Marko Stipp Motorsport’s Jack Davidson in the combined Practice results, but he bounced back in Qualifying and topped the Rookie Trophy field with an eleventh place result in the 20-minute long session. Dombrowski then cemented his predominance in the races, finishing ninth in the first one and seventh in the second to earn himself a sweep under the Spanish sun.

Nina Weinbrenner Rookie Trophy Podium Valencia 2023
Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Nina Weinbrenner

The battles proved to be exhausting for the 21-year old French driver, but he was rewarded with the lead in the Rookie Trophy standings with 58 points to his name. “Yeah, I am exhausted! The more laps passed, the more I had to wrestle the car. There’s less grip and less brakes that you can use, so that’s really exhausting!” said the Frenchman after securing his maiden Rookie Trophy victory on Saturday.

Davidson affirmed himself as the closest challenger to Dombrowski after securing a double podium finish in the special classification. The British driver faced some adversity in his debut race on Saturday after he lost plenty of positions following contact with another driver, but he recovered to finish eleventh overall. He then went on to score his first top-10 finish in ninth on Sunday. With the next round being his home race at Brands Hatch, Davidson is motivated to perform at his best in front of his home crowd.

Bart Dehaese Nick Schneider Valencia 2023
Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese

Sitting third in the Rookie Trophy standings is Davidson’s teammate Nick Schneider, who also had an eventful weekend at Valencia. Schneider went off the course with a stuck throttle in the second race, but he was still able to get his first Rookie Trophy podium finish under the checkered flag. Race Art Technology’s Thomas Toffel is currently fourth after several penalties in Round 2 ruined his chances of scoring a double podium finish in the Rookie Trophy. The Swiss finished second in the special classification in Round 1.

Sven van Laere, who is also competing for the Legend Trophy honors, and Nick Strickler follow Toffel in the points standings. The two Rookie Trophy contenders are currently tied in points. Max Mason will have to play a lot of catch up in the following rounds after a tough weekend in Spain. The Australian driver wasn’t able to start the first race due to a crash in Qualifying, but climbed his way from 23rd to 14th in the second race to secure the all-important bonus points for most positions gained.

The 2023 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season will be returning on 17-18 June for the tenth anniversary edition of the American SpeedFest. One of EuroNASCAR’s crown jewel events, held at Brands Hatch’s Indy Circuit in the United Kingdom, it is also set to celebrate the 75th anniversary of NASCAR. All qualifying and races will be streamed live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, and various television services around the world.

Featured image by NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Nina Weinbrenner