Twenty-four weeks after the green flag dropped in Valencia, the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will reach its culmination on October 8-9 at Circuit Zolder, Belgium, with an extraordinary event, packed with action, drama, fun and passion on and off the track.
If the first edition of the American Festival Circuit Zolder Finals was a huge success last year and gathered to the Belgian track more than 25.000 fans for an unforgettable weekend, the 2016 edition promises to be even bigger and better, thanks to a massive dose of door-to-door action on track, a huge choice of American-themed attractions to entertain all the family and NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon serving as Grand Marshal on Sunday, October 9th.
After bringing the NWES cars to downtown Hasselt on Thursday, October 6th with a unique parade, tech inspections open to the public and a special autograph session, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will be on the 4,011 Km of Circuit Zolder and the final battle of the 2016 season will begin!
ELITE 1: A THREE-WAY BATTLE FOR THE TITLE
To win in Zolder will be imperative: Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) will enter his home race leading the standings only by 19 points on Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV Compétition Ford Mustang) and 29 on Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) and none of the three main contenders will be fully in control of his own faith as a total of 192 points will be attributed during the Finals.
Kumpen’s advantage translates into just 9 positions on track and the bonus points attributed for each race will play a key role : +6 points for winning the race, +2 for leading at least one lap and +2 for leading the most laps. The possible scenarios are so many that even leading a single lap could change the outcome of the Finals and the name on the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion Trophy.
A few examples? Kumpen would be able to administer his advantage only if he wins at least one race, Gabillon can be sure to become Champion only by winning both races leading the most laps and Day, on the other hand, would be crowned if he wins both races leading the most laps, prevents Kumpen from leading a lap and the Belgian places worse than 3rd and 4th. To add to this extremely balanced situation, Kumpen won the most races so far, Gabillon has led the most laps and Day has led the most kilometers.
But there could also be new winners at Zolder, making every single position on track fundamental for the final result, as Kumpen experienced in 2014, when he won the NWES title by a single point at the end of a nail-biting final race.
ELITE 2: LONGIN HOLDS THE LEAD IN RECORD SETTING SEASON
The situation in the ELITE 2 is far more delineated in favour of Stienes Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS), who is having a record-setting season. The PK Carsport driver has won seven times in ten races – tying a NWES record across the two divisions – an the podium the other three times, for an impressive 1,4 average finish position.
Longin will have to start the two Finals to clinch the title, but he will race for the win if he can and a furious battle will take place for second place between Gabriele Gardel (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS), Salvador Tineo Arroyo (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) and Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang). The three drivers are separated by a mere 4 points, translating into two positions on track and making for two unpredictable, action-packed ELITE 2 Division races.
A SPECIAL COVERAGE
For the fans that will not be able to join the event, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will debut an enhanced TV coverage with a total of ten cameras to capture all the action and stream it live on Fanschoice.tv in anticipation of 2017. Live updates will be available once again on the Race Central Live page on nascarhometracks.com, on the @EuroNASCAR Twitter profile and on the officiale NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Facebook page.
CIRCUIT ZOLDER FINALS NWES SCHEDULE (CET times)
Thursday October 6th
17:00 – 19:00 Parade, Technical Inspections and Autograph session in Downtown Hasselt
Friday October 7th
14:05 – 14:35 ELITE 1 Practice (30 min)
14:40 – 15:10 ELITE 2 Practice (30 min)
16:45 – 17:15 ELITE 1 Final Practice (30 min)
17:20 – 17:50 ELITE 2 Final Practice (30 min)
Saturday October 8th LIVE ON FANSCHOICE.TV
10:35 – 10:52 ELITE 1 Qualifying (8 min) / ELITE 1 Superpole (5 min)
10:58 – 11:15 ELITE 2 Qualifying (8 min) / ELITE 2 Superpole (5 min)
13:40 ELITE 1 Race 1 (16 laps – 64.18 km)
16:45 ELITE 2 Race 1 (16 laps – 64.18 km)
Sunday October 9th LIVE ON FANSCHOICE.TV
10:05 – 10:15 Warmup (10 min)
11:40 ELITE 2 Race 2 (16 laps – 64.18 km)
16:05 ELITE 1 Race 2 (16 laps – 64.18 km)
|Race||American Festival Circuit Zolder NASCAR Finals|
|PLACE:||Circuit Zolder, Belgium|
|DATE:||October 8-9, 2016|
|TRACK LAYOUT:||4,011 km, 11-turn Road Course|
|2015 WINNERS:||ELITE 1: Alon Day - ELITE 2: Gianmarco Ercoli|
|TRACK CONTACT:||Website: circuit-zolder.be
Tel: +32 11 85 88 88
|EVENT HASHTAG:||#NWES #Finals|
The Race: Circuit Zolder will host the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Finals for the second time this year. The weekend will begin on Thursday evening with an extraordinary parade from the track to the city of Hasselt, which will host technical inspections and a special autograph session. Beside the exciting racing on track, fans will enjoy all sorts of American-themed entertainment around the track for an unforgettable weekend.
The Procedure: 28 cars will enter the American Festival Circuit Zolder NASCAR Finals. The starting field for each Division will be set by an 8-minute qualifying session, followed by a 5-minute Superpole that will determine the top 12 positions. Each of the four races will be 64,18 Kilometers (16 laps) long and held under NASCAR rules, with double file restarts and an eventual Green-White-Checkered Finish attempt.
The Circuit: Built in 1963, the 4,011 Km (2.492mi), 11-turn road course is one of the most iconic tracks in Europe. During the course of its glorious history, it hosted a wide variety of motorsports event, from Formula 1 to Champcar and WTCC and currently features a very popular 24-Hour race. It also periodically hosts many other sporting events, like the Cycling World Championships and the BMX World Championships.
CIRCUIT ZOLDER RACE NOTES
Jeff Gordon to serve as Grand Marshal: NASCAR legend and future Hall Of Famer Jeff Gordon will be present at the American Festival Circuit Zolder NASCAR Finals and will serve as Grand Marshal for the race that will decide the Euro NASCAR title. The green flag will drop on the ELITE 1 Final 2 at 16:05 CET and will be preceded by a 20-minute grid-walk for the fans to share with teams and drivers a unique occasion.
Alex Caffi Motorsport to field second car: After a spectacular debut at Adria International Raceway in which Alex Caffi finished two times in the top-10, Alex Caffi Motorsports will enter a second car, the #33, for the Circuit Zolder Finals. IMSA PC Class race winners Renger Van Der Zande and Mirco Schultis will drive respectively in ELITE 1 and ELITE 2. The #23 Mustang will be piloted once again by Alex Caffi in ELITE 1.
Back on track: After debuting in its home race at Venray with a podium in ELITE 1, Team Raceway Venray will be back on the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series grid with two cars, one for Barry Maessen and Marko Stipp and the other for Maik Barten. Belgian superstar Marc Goossens (#90 Brass Racing Ford Mustang) will also return with a brand new livery and the clear goal to improve the third place – the team’s best result ever – he obtained in Brands Hatch.
Trophies: Entering the Circuit Zolder weekend, Alon Day leads the Junior “Jerome Sarran” Trophy by 39 points on his teammate Nicolò Rocca (#56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS), who moved up to second after the Semi Finals, and 63 Wilfried Boucenna (#73 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang). Dario Caso (#8 Vict Motorsport Ford Mustang) and Marconi De Abreu (#47 Brazil Team Ford Mustang) enter the Finals tied for the lead in the Challenger Trophy, with a 19-point advantage on Jerry De Weerdt (#78 Brass Racing Ford Mustang). Riccardo Geltrude’s (#7 Double-T by Nocentini Ford Mustang) lead in the Rookie Cup shrunk to 33 points on Marconi De Abreu (#47 Brazil Team Ford Mustang) and 37 on Justin Kunz (#44 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS). Jerry De Weerdt (#78 Brass Racing Ford Mustang) took the lead in the Legend Trophy by 7 points on Renzo Calcinati (#12 Virgin Radio Double-T by Nocentini Ford Mustang), while Arianna Casoli (#56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) holds a comfortable lead in the Lady Cup.