NWES • November 11, 2014
WHAT A 2014 SEASON!
Euro NASCAR celebrates best season ever, looks forward to bright future
Daytona Beach, Florida - 2014 was undoubtedly the best season ever for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. In his third year under the NASCAR banner, the European Series saw the competition rise to the highest level in its young history. An average of 27 cars entered each of the six event in the calendar and a grand total of 99 drivers took the wheel of the powerful European stock-cars in the two divisions, but the quality of the racing and the show generated by the thundering V8s on the best tracks of the Old Continent are even more impressive.
Title and Trophies all went down to the line in the last races of the Le Mans Finals and left over 52 000 fans breathless until the last turn of the last lap. A superb mix of established protagonists, world-class newcomers, talented young drivers and experienced gentlemen battled all season long in a Championship that proved to have found a winning formula with the active involvement and support of sponsors like Whelen Engineering, Michelin and Silverline Tools.
Interest around the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is growing and the number of young talents that shined this year make the future of NASCAR in Europe look brighter than ever. The Series looks now to grow even better for 2015, when Raceway Venray - the second oval to enter the series - and Circuit Zolder will join a calendar featuring only NASCAR-dedicated events for the first time.
Titles decided in exciting fashion
With four drivers entering the Finals still in contention for the ELITE 1 Division title behind two-time Champion Ander Vilarino (#2 TFT-Banco Santander Chevrolet SS), Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) turned the points standings upside down once again and edged the Spaniard by the thinnest margin of one point, winning his first NASCAR race en route to his a dramatic Championship triumph in his rookie season. Consistency was the key for the Hasselt-native, who notched a total of 1 win, 10 top-5s and 12 top-10s - the only driver to never finish outside the top-10, with an average finishing position of 3.8 that will set the bar extremely high for 2015.
Three drivers fought until the end in the ELITE 2 Division, where Maxime Dumarey (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) emerged as the winner, but rookie Philipp Lietz (#86 TB Renauer Motorsport Ford Mustang) came just 7 points shy of a major comeback and 16-year-old NWES Drivers Program member Thomas Ferrando (#22 Overdrive Chevrolet Camaro) ended up third, 32 points from the leader.
Kumpen and Dumarey also granted team PK Carsport the win in the Teams Championship, amassing a total of 2 wins, 19 top-5s and 23 top-10s.
An historic oval win in the wet for Mathias Lauda
The 2014 season was also highlighted by an historic milestone: Mathias Lauda (#66 DF-1 Racing by B66 Chevrolet SS) won at Tours Speedway the first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series race in the wet in dramatic fashion. Restarting from the fourth place with eleven laps to go, Lauda moved to the outside and completed a series of splendid overtakes score his maiden NASCAR win in the ELITE 1 Sunday Race.
ELITE 1 Trophies: Italian En-Plein
Kumpen wasn’t the only newcomer to immediately pick up the pace. Eddie Cheever III (#51 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) put his amazing talent at work to score 3 pole positions - consequently bringing home the Race And Win Pole Award - and win three races to conquer the Jerome Sarran Junior Trophy in his first NASCAR season. His fellow countryman Fabrizio Armetta (#31 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) conquered the Challenger Trophy at the end of a season-long duel with Guillaume Rousseau (#13 Bull Racing Team Ford Mustang) that even saw him race with a broken collarbone at Tours Speedway to preserve his points lead.
ELITE 2 Trophies: Melo and Vernet celebrate
Brazilian Marcal Melo (#82 Brazil Team Chevrolet SS) overcame a 13 points deficit in the Le Mans Finals to win the Gentleman Trophy over Simone Laureti (#51 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) in After ending up second in 2012 and 2013, Leonard Vernet (#7 TFT Chevrolet SS) finally won the Legend Trophy this year by dominating the classification reserver to drivers aged 50 or more ahead of Didier Bec (#8 RDV Competition Ford Mustang).
Cups: Lietz and Monforte win first edition
Austrian Philipp Lietz (#86 TB Renauer Motorsport Ford Mustang) won an incredibly hard-fought inaugural edition of the Rookie Cup by overtaking French phenom Thomas Ferrando (#22 Overdrive-Buffalo Chevrolet Camaro) in the last race of the season. Third was Tours Speedway double-winner Denis Dupont (#32 RCP - Marc VDS Toyota Camry). "Racing Mom" Erika Monforte (#88 Euro Kart Racing Team Chevrolet Camaro) had the better hand in the Lady Cup over Nathalie Maillet (#46 RCP - Marc VDS Toyota Camry), also finishing in the top-10 in the ELITE 2 Division standings.
A busy off-season
The off-season will not be quiet for the Euro NASCAR, because on December 6-7 NWES will make its debut at the 39th edition of the Motor Show in Bologna with its brand new "Exhibition Duels". Euro NASCAR cars will then be once again protagonists in the Race Of Champions, taking place in Barbados on December 13-14.
Voting is also open to elect the Most Popular Driver of the Series. Fans can cast their vote once a day at nascar.com/mostpopulardriver until Saturday, November 15. The winner will be honored at the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Series Awards at the NASCAR Hall of Fame / Charlotte Convention Center on Saturday, Dec. 13, together with Titles an Trophies winners.
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