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In a dramatic last race of the 2016 season, Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) was crowned NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion for the second time in his career while Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV Compétition Ford Mustang) won his fourth race of the season, ending up just 9 points behind the Belgian in the final points standings.
“This title is so special for me. I won in front of my fans and my sponsors on my home track. I’ve been racing on this track for 20 years and I know every person at the track. Being able to win here is unique,” said Kumpen, who ended up seventh under the checkered flag in a race in which his car was damaged in a frantic start. “I had to win this again! I won a lot of races, but nothing compares to today. Jeff Gordon was here to see me race! He’s such an amazing ambassador, having him here today and on the podium with me was sensational!”
The final race of the Circuit Zolder American Festival weekend saw a massive crowd gathered as NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon gave the command to “Start Your Engines”, the most famous words in motorsport. When the green flag dropped, it was polesitter Borja Garcia (#7 Double-T by Nocentini Ford Mustang) who took an early lead. The Spaniard hit trouble with his car on lap 7 and was forced to retire, while Gabillon inherited the lead and remained unchallenged until the checkered flag waved to close out the 2016 NWES season.
“I had a really good starting position in second and unfortunately for Borja, something broke on his car. He was really fast and it would have been a great duel for the win. Finishing second in points is great but we wanted more and we came up just a little bit short,” said an emotional Gabillon. Anthony was very strong throughout the year. I am a little bit sad because it was the last race for me crew chief Claude (Galopin). He’s retiring after 40 years in motorsports and I wish him all the best. It’s the second time I finish second in the NASCAR championship. All the RDV Competition team did an incredible job on my new car and this win is for them.”
Marc Goossens (#90 Brass Racing Ford Mustang) scored the best result in Brass Racing’s history with his second place finish and Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) completed the podium, bringing home the 2016 Junior “Jerome Sarran” Trophy. Fourth-placed Renger Van Der Zande (#33 Alex Caffi Motorsport Ford Mustang) scored another impressive top-5 in his NASCAR debut, ahead of 2015 ELITE 2 division Champion Gianmarco Ercoli (#9 Double-T by Nocentini Ford Mustang) and Alex Caffi (#23 Alex Caffi Motorsport Ford Mustang).
As Anthony Kumpen crossed the finish line in seventh, he began celebrating his championship win celebrated in perfect NASCAR style with a magnificent burnout in front of his home crowd. PK Carsport also won the Team Championship with the #24 Chevrolet SS. Bert Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS), Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang) and Ulysse Delsaux rounded out the top-10.
Eric De Doncker (#98 Motorsport 98 Ford Mustang) led the Challenger Trophy classification thanks to his twelth position under the checkered flag. The 2016 Challenger Trophy went to, Dario Caso (#8 Vict Motorsport Ford Mustang), who finished 16th in the ELITE 1 Final 2 at Circuit Zolder.
After an emotional prize-giving ceremony in Victory Lane, the December 9th NASCAR Night Of Champions Touring Series Awards at the NASCAR Hall Of Fame in Charlotte, USA, will officially close the curtain on the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season.