Mission accomplished for Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Toyota Camry). The 2017 Euro NASCAR Champion defended his crown with an impressive flag-to-flag win in the last race of the season at the iconic Circuit Zolder and put his hands on the 2018 title, his second consecutive. The CAAL Racing driver drove a perfect race under constant pressure by Stienes Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro) in the first half of the race, but he was able to fend off every attack brought by the Belgian driver before gaining some ground in the closing stages and taking the checkered flag 5.9 seconds ahead of his rivals.
It was the 17th NWES career win for Alon Day and the 7th of his 2018 season, who tied Ander Vilarino’s record for the most wins in a single season.
Day crossed the finish line ahead of Loris Hezemans (#50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang), who grabbed the second place with a brilliant overtake on Longin in the last lap. Day, who raced two times in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the US, was joined by Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV Competition Toyota Camry) and Lucas Lasserre (#33 Mavi Mishumotors Chevrolet SS) on the championship podium.
“It feels so amazing,” said the 26-year old Israeli driver. “This car never fails and never disappoints me. The car, the team, they are all unbelievable. I’m speechless. I came back from such a difficult time in the season, but I still managed to win so many races and kept bouncing back. Back-to-back: It’s just amazing.”
Gabillon, who finished fourth in the race, ended up second in the championship. The Frenchman got his third runner-up in the NWES ELITE 1 standings in six NWES seasons. RDV Competition won the 2018 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Teams Championship thanks to him and Ulysse Delsaux, who won the ELITE 2 title. Gabillon ended up 28 points behind Day in the final standings.
“We had a lot of problems during this weekend,” said Gabillon after the podium ceremony. “We were simply not fast enough. We had a good race yesterday and the race today was quite good. Today I had a bad start and I was not able to make a move. Fighting for the second place was okay, Alon was too fast and too far away. Today was not the day I lost the championship for sure.”
Lasserre, who arrived at Zolder as the points leader but had to retire in the first Final losing his title chances, managed to finish third in the overall standings, an outstanding result for his MIshomotors team. It was an amazing season by Lasserre, who acted as team manager and his own crew chief, the mechanics and team owner Mirco Schultis, who drove the #70 Chevrolet SS at Hockenheim and Zolder.
“10 years after I entered the series I was back again,” said Lasserre, who was satisfied with being third in the 2018 ELITE 1 championship. “I’m back and I managed to finish third after a full season. We have such a little team that has done such a great job. I thank all my mechanics and team owner Mirco. We found very strong mechanics and now we are in a better position for next year. We want to race again next season and go for the championship again.”
Hezemans, who finished second after overtaking Longin in the last lap of the ELITE 1 Final 2, won the Junior Trophy and will get the opportunity to take part in a NASCAR race in the US next season. Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang) took the second place in the Junior Trophy with the sixth place under the checkered flag. Gianmarco Ercoli (#9 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang) completed the Junior Trophy podium.
Longin was third at the finish ahead of Gabillon and Lasserre with another strong performance in his home race weekend at the historic Zolder track. Christophe Bouchut (#66 Dexwet-DF1 Racing Chevrolet Camaro) was seventh behind Ferrando. Newcomer Dylan Derdaele (#78 Braxx Racing Ford Mustang), Wilfried Boucenna (#73 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang) and Fabrizio Armetta (#41 The Club Motorsports Ford Mustang), who won the Challenger Trophy in this race, closed the top-10.
Kenko Miura (#2 Alex Caffi Motorsport Toyota Camry), who ended up 15th under the checkered flag, brought home the 2018 Challenger Trophy after an intense season-long battle. He had the better hand on Mauro Trione (#31 Race Art Technology / Blu Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro) and Dario Caso (#8 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang), who completed the Challenger Trophy top-3.
After another incredible season, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will now head to Charlotte, North Carolina for the traditional banquet at the NASCAR Hall Of Fame, where Day will put his name in the Whelen Hall Of Champions for the second year in a row.