Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) grabbed his fifth win of the season – the seventh ih his NASCAR career – on his home track by conquering the first race of the American Festival Circuit Zolder NASCAR Finals. After a good start from second place, the Belgian took advantage of an early contact between polesitter Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) and Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV Compétition Ford Mustang) to take the lead and maintain it until the checkered flag. Kumpen won by 8 tenths of a second on a charging Gabillon, who completed a spectacular comeback.
“I knew Fred Gabillion and Alon Day were going to battle if they want to win the championship and I tried to avoid any trouble. They touched two or three times and that opened the door for me. From there on, I was just trying to be cautious, which was not very easy,” said the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion. I made a lot of mistakes, I may have been a bit too nervous, I may have been a bit to focused on trying to provide the fans here at my home track a great race. I’m really really happy to win here at home and also compete for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Championship. It’s not over yet and tomorrow is definitely going to be another great race and I want the fans to see a great show!”
The contact sent Day one lap down and Gabillon in the middle of the field, but both title contenders took advantage of the yellow flag that waved on lap 5 to allow the allow the recovery of Martin Doubek’s (#5 Dexwet Renauer Team Ford Mustang) car from the gravel at the last chicane. In a frantic restart, Gabillon climbed position after position until he got the better hand on Nicolò Rocca (#56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) for second. With the third place under the checkered flag, the Italian won the Junior “Jerome Sarran” Trophy.
A solid Gianmarco Ercoli (#9 Double-T by Nocentini Ford Mustang) ended up fourth, while debutant Ranger Van der Zande (#33 Alex Caffi Motorsport Ford Mustang) scored his first career top-5 in NASCAR. Freddy Nordstrom (#44 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) brought home another top-10 ahead of Alon Day, who will start second in tomorrow’s ELITE 1 Final 2. The pole went to Borja Garcia (#7 Double-T by Nocentini Ford Mustang).
Wilfried Boucenna (#73 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang), Ulysse Delsaux (#31 McDonald's RDV Compétition Ford Mustang) and Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang) completed the top-10.
A contact while battling for second on lap 10 forced Marc Goossens (#90 Brass Racing Ford Mustang) and Bert Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) to retire.
The green flag for the final ELITE 1 race of the season will wave at 4:05 pm CET with Jeff Gordon as Grand Marshal. The race will be broadcasted live on Fanschoice.tv (http://bit.ly/nweslive) and on the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Facebook page.