Reigning NASCAR Whelen Euro Series ELITE 2 Division Champion Stienes Longin was solid in his US debut in the Pro Late Model Division at the New Smyrna Speedway. The Belgian came home 14th in the Tower Sealants Pro Late Model 100, enjoying a unique experience and improving his oval racing skills.
“It was challenging out there, having to adapt quickly to a new car and a new track, but I really really had a lot of fun,” said Longin. “We missed some experience of the car and the track to be able compete with the fastest cars, but we kept going better and better, we managed to gain some spots and it the end it was an amazing experience, for which I have to thank all my sponsors, NASCAR, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and Jerome and Anne Galpin.”
Some showers on Thursday delayed Longin’s first contact with the Pro Late Model car fielded by former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie Of The Year Mike Skinner, but the Leuven-native was able to drive for the first time.
Longin kept making strides in practice and posted the 14th time in qualifying before lining up for the Tower Sealants Pro Late Model 100. The Belgian found a good pace in the race and battled in traffic and through a couple of restarts to climb up towards the top-10, improving lap after lap in the longest oval race of his young career.
A misunderstanding while letting the leaders by on lap 95 costed Longin a penalty that sent him back to 14th in the final standings, but the experience gained in this first American campaign will be useful as he moves to the ELITE 1 Division in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for the 2017 season at wheel of the #11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS.
The first NWES event of 2017 will be the March 3 Prologue at the Autodromo di Franciacorta, in Italy, while the season will officially kick off on April 8-9 in Spain with the Valencia NASCAR Fest.
Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series