When most people people think NASCAR, they mainly think of the Cup Series. Fans may also think of the Xfinity Series and Truck Series as well, and most fans are also aware of the regional touring series such as the ARCA Menards Series East and West or the Modifieds. However, NASCAR also has series all around the globe.
One of those series is the NASCAR Euro Series, which got their season underway in Valencia, Spain, over the weekend. What is the NASCAR Euro Series, and what makes it unique from the other NASCAR series?
According to euronascar.com, the series was founded in 2008 by current Series President and CEO Jerome Galpin alongside his wife Anne Galpin. The first season was staged in 2009 with races exclusively held in France. In 2010, the series was officially sanctioned by the FIA (Federation Internationale de I’Automobile).
NASCAR officially took control of the series in 2012, making it the first officially sanctioned NASCAR series in Europe. Since then, more NASCAR talent has found their way into the series.
Bobby Labonte ran 15 races in the series between 2017 and 2019 with a best finish of second at Tours Speedway in France in 2018. Road course ringer Jacques Villenueve ran the full 2019 season earning two poles and finishing 10th in the final standings.
Drivers have even made the jump from Europe to NASCAR National Touring Series. Series champion Anthony Kumpen ran six NASCAR Xfinity Series races between 2015 and 2017 with his best finish being 16th at Mid-Ohio in 2017, his last Xfinity Series start.
Four-time Series Champion Alon Day ran in two Xfinity and two Truck Series races in 2018, and ran in two Cup Series races between 2017 and 2018. His best finish between all of these starts came in the Xfinity Series in 2016 at Mid-Ohio finishing 13th.
How Does it Work?
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is split into two divisions: EuroNASCAR Pro and EuroNASCAR 2. The two series run in companion with each other racing at the same tracks every weekend of the season. The series runs 12 races at six tracks with two races per weekend in both series.
The 2023 schedule includes races across six different road courses in six different European countries. They include races at historic European tracks such as Brands Hatch (fomer site of the F1 British Grand Prix) and Zolder (Former site of the F1 Belgian Grand Prix).
The series also implements a season-long points system similar to what NASCAR used to do. According to euronascar.com, after each race, the winner gets 40 points with second place getting 35 points. Then the points gradually decrease in one point increments down to 36th who only gets one point.
Of the first 10 races, drivers only compile the best eight points results they have had on the season. There is also four bonus points for whoever the biggest mover is throughout the race. The final two races make up the EuroNASCAR Finals, featuring double points.
Races are relatively short with each race being just over 70 kilometers (~43 miles) in the Pro Series and roughly 60 kilometers (~37 miles) in the EuroNASCAR 2 category.
The Cast of Characters
62 drivers (31 per series) race between the EuroNASCAR Pro division and the EuroNASCAR 2 division. Alon Day is the defending drivers champion of the Pro Series. He is competing this year in the #24 car for PK Carsport.
The defending EuroNASCAR 2 champion is Liam Hanzemans, who is racing in the Pro Series this year. He even got his first career Pro Series win last weekend at Valencia according to Speedway Digest.
There are 16 teams between EuroNASCAR Pro and EuroNASCAR 2 divisions. Hendriks Motorsport swept the team championship last season finishing 1-2. Their drivers this year are Henzemans and Martin Doubek.
European NASCAR fans have plenty of stock car action in their backyard to enjoy. Will there be more EuroNASCAR drivers who make the jump to the United States to race in front of the U.S. fans as well?