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Borja Garcia (#7 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang) grabbed the checkered flag in the first ever NASCAR Whelen Euro Series at the legendary Hockenheimring leading flag to flag in a tight battle for the lead with reigning Champion Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS). The Racers Motorsport Driver won for the fourth time this year and the fifth in his NASCAR career.
After enjoying a huge celebration in victory lane, the Championship leader Garcia said, “I’m really happy to win my fourth race of the season and it’s really great that it's the first win for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series’ here at Hockenheim! I have to thank my team who worked really hard to give me a fast race car for today’s race. The car was really good at the start of the race and had great balance for the long green flag run. Towards the end of the race, the car started to slide a bit in the turns and I had work really hard to keep Anthony behind me. He was putting quite a bit of pressure on me and it was really a great battle but fortunately I was able to hold him off long enough to get the win.” Discussing the Series’ final race of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs, Garcia said, “I need to get as many points as I can before the final race of the season at Zolder because it’s Anthony’s home track and he’s really good there. For the remainder of the season, we’ll just do everything we can to continue our great performance so far this season, hopefully win more races and then we’ll see what happens as we get closer to Zolder.”
Garcia started from the first place on the grid – polesitter Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) had a 10-position penalty on the grid for contact in the previous road course race at Brands Hatch – and built an early lead on Kumpen, but the Belgian caught up in the second half of the race to put pressure on the Spaniard. With four laps remaining, the caution flag was waived to retrieve the car of Dominik Farnbacher (#33 Mishumotors Chevrolet SS) from the gravel in turn 9 – the German was running in the top-10 before ending up there – bunching up the field for a dash to the checkered flag.
Garcia kept the lead on a great restart that featured four and five wide racing action throughout the field. A red flag was displayed for a crash involving Carlo Alberto Forte (#2 Alex Caffi Motorsport Toyota Camry) and Eric De Doncker (#98 Motorsport 98 Ford Mustang) after turn 3 and the race was called with not enough time to complete track cleanup. Although both drivers walked away, following routine safety procedures they received medical attention.
During podium ceremonies, Kumpen shared “The race was really good and I’m sure all the fans enjoyed watching it. My team provided a great car for the race. I was able to close on Borja and started to put pressure on him to make a mistake. I think without the red flag there at the end we had a great chance to go for the win. Unfortunately that happens sometimes in racing so all I can I do is be grateful that I have such a great team, great sponsors and supportive race fans. The weekend’s not over, so I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
Behind Garcia and Kumpen, Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV Compétition Ford Mustang) took a solid result in third and Day won the battle with his CAAL Racing teammates and finished fourth, earning the pole for Sunday’s ELITE 1 Round 8 and edging Salvador Tineo Arroyo (#56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS), who won the Junior Trophy.
Stienes Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS), Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang), Wilfried Boucenna (#73 Knauf Racing Team Ford Mustang) and debutant Jean Baptiste Simmenauer rounded out the top-10, while Marconi Abreu (#47 RDV Compétition Ford Mustang) won the Challenger Trophy in 11th place.
The ELITE 1 Division will close the Hockenheimring weekend on Sunday at 14:30 pm CET and the race will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Facebook page.