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Pure, unfiltered, white-knucle racing is what thousands of fans witnessed at Circuit Zolder in the first ELITE 1 race of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Finals, in which Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) won a race-long duel against Marc Goossens (#90 Braxx Racing Ford Mustang) to grab the checkered flag by a mere 0.576 seconds on the Belgian.
It was Day’s third consecutive win in the Playoffs, the fourth of the season and the tenth in the CAAL Racing driver’s career. The Israeli now has his hands on the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series title and will start from the pole on Sunday in the final race of the season alongside Goossens.
“I am so happy to win the first Final here at Circuit Zolder. I knew Marc Goossens was quick since practice, so it was not easy and as I expected he was right on my bumper from the green flag, pushing me to the limit,” said the Israeli, who “I am so, so happy also for my team, if I win the championship tomorrow it will not only be my first title but also the first championship win in CAAL Racing’s history. It’s an amazing feeling, tomorrow I want to win the championship and I’ll also do my best to win the second Final.”
Day led all the 16 laps of the ELITE 1 Final 1 under constant pressure from Goossens, but the Belgian never got close enough to make a move on the #54 Chevrolet and the group of six drivers involved in the battle for the lead in the first part of the race slowly broke, unable to keep the pace of the front duo.
Two-time Champion Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) crossed the finish line third, 8.824 seconds behind Day, ahead of Frederic Gabillon (#3 Tepac RDV Compétition Ford Mustang) and Stienes Longin (#11 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS), who took the lead in the Junior Trophy points standing with another solid top-5.
"I did not want to be the bad guy at the start of the race and I was cautious but I did not have enough pace to challenge Alon. I think we can say he drove like a champion today. A lot of credit to him! He was very good in the Semi Finals and the first Final today, that really made the difference,” said Goossens, who scored the third consecutive podium for Braxx Racing. “I never was close enough to put pressure on him for the win, but I think I put a lot of championship pressure. Tomorrow is another day, so it will be a little bit easier for me. I want to thank everybody at Braxx Racing and Braxx Performance. All the guys did a great job to give me a fantastic car. I think the race was between two guys today and everybody else had to lift off and let us go. If I look back to one year ago we improved so much. I would also like to thank everybody at Visit Florida for letting me do this, I am getting huge support from them and I will try everything to give them and Braxx Racing a victory tomorrow."
Borja Garcia (#7 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang) finished sixth and his title chances dramatically faded. At the end of a great battle, Lucas Lasserre (#33 Mishumotors Chevrolet SS) crossed the finish line seventh, right ahead of Freddy Nordstrom (#44 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS), while Thomas Ferrando (#37 Knauf Racing Ford Mustang) was ninth overall and second in the Junior Trophy. He edged Salvador Tineo Arroyo (#56 CAAL Racing), who rounded ot the Junior Trophy podium.
Fabrizio Armetta (#41 The Club Motorsports Ford Mustang) finished 15th winning the race in the Challenger Trophy ahead of Jerry de Weerdt (#78 Braxx Racing Ford Mustang), who edged Dario Caso (#8 Racers Motorsport Ford Mustang). Both De Weerdt and Caso are now back in contention in the Challenger Trophy standing as Marconi De Abreu (#47 RDV Compétition Ford Mustang) was forced to retire.
The ELITE 1 Division will be back in action on Sunday at 2:15 pm CET with the last race of the 2017 season and it will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Facebook page.