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Preview: Valencia NASCAR Fest

All you need to know about the 2017 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season opener
Gian Luca Guiglia, NWES
April 4, 2017 - 9:54am

28 cars figure in the full season NASCAR Whelen Euro Series entry list for the 2017 season. 15 countries will be represented on the grid, with the first drivers entering NWES from Poland, Luxembourg, Iran, Japan and Venezuela, confirming NWES as a unique stepping stone towards a NASCAR career for drivers coming from all over the world.

Between returning NWES stars, young talents moving up the Euro NASCAR ranks and new world-class drivers making their NASCAR debut, the ELITE 1 entry list is impressive and promises to deliver a season for the ages, while the ELITE 2 title will be up for grabs for a wide plethora of young pilots and expert veterans. The ELITE Club Division will make it’s debut in Valencia and introduce to the NASCAR world seven new drivers.

VALENCIA NASCAR FEST LINKS
TICKETS | SCHEDULE | ENTRY LIST | RACE CENTRAL | LIVE STREAMING

ELITE 1 Division

Going for the third crown - Back from an extremely positive race at Daytona in NASCAR Xfinity Series in February, Anthony Kumpen's main goal for 2017 is to conquer an historic third NASCAR Whelen Euro Series title. The Belgian will lead a renewed PK Carsport team, featuring ELITE 2 Champion Stienes Longin on the #11 Chevy. 

That elusive win - After finishing second in the last three races at Valencia, Frederic Gabillon will definitely be on the war path to begin his fifth season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series with a win in the opening weekend. With the winningest active NWES driver in ELITE 1 and Ulysse Delsaux in the ELITE 2 seat, the #3 RDV Compétition will be among the favorites for the Teams Championship for sure.

Yellow CAAL power - Two-time Junior Trophy winner Alon Day will be the third driver on the grid with an ELITE 1 Valencia win in his palmares, at the wheel of his yellow #54 Chevy.  All the CAAL cars will adopt the bright color and feature Swedish veteran Freddy Nordstrom and Salvador Tineo Arroyo in ELITE 1. 

Talents moving up the ranks - Keep an eye on the many interesting NWES talents pursuing a strong season in the ELITE 1 Division. Gianmarco Ercoli and Thomas Ferrando both won at Valencia in ELITE 2 already proved their worth in the top division in 2016 and they will be joined by 2016 Elite 2 Champion Stienes Longin and Salvador Tineo Arroyo, forming a strong group of NWES talents looking to shine.  

Alex Caffi Motorsport sure to contend - The team founded by former Formula 1 driver Alex Caffi made sure to be a contender from the very beginning in his first full-time season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series by including in its lineup a veteran like Borja Garcia – two podiums for him at Valencia in 2016 – and former GP2, F1 and Indycar driver Rodrigo Gonzalez. Count on seeing them at the front.

A strong group of Challengers - Dario Caso will have to defend his Challenger Trophy title from the assault of a strong group of 10 drivers looking to dethrone him. With drivers like Marconi Abreu to Jerry De Weerdt, Peter Gross and newcomer Patrick Simon, the 2017 class of Challengers promises to deliver a great show on every track of the calendar.

NWES Champions
2016 Anthony Kumpen
2015 Ander Vilarino
2014 Anthony Kumpen
2013 Ander Vilarino
2012 Ander Vilarino
NASCAR OFFICIAL SERIES
2011 Eric Helary
2010 Lucas Lasserre
2009 Wilfried Boucenna

 

Most Wins At Valencia
Ander Vilarino 4
Anthony Kumpen 1
Alon Day 1
Yann Zimmer 1
Eddie Cheever III 1

 

Valencia Manufacturer Wins
Chevrolet 7
Ford 1

 

Most Poles At Valencia
Anthony Kumpen 1
Javier Villa 1
Bert Longin 1
Nicolò Rocca 1

 

ELITE 2 Division

Making experience count - Valencia will be the perfect occasion for drivers in their sophomore year in NWES like Martin Doubek, Marconi Abreu and Paul Guiod to make their experience count and have an advantage in first leg of the championship. The same will be true for Ulysse Delsaux, who is returning to ELITE 2 after a season in the ELITE 1 division. Thanks to his two top-10 finishes in 2016’s Valencia weekend, Doubek seems to be starting from the most solid base among the group.

Toyota back on the grid - Toyota will be back on the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series grid for the first time since 2015 thanks to the new Toyota Camry body that will make its debut in the hands of Japanese rookie Kenko Miura and Brazilian Marconi Abreu. Both drivers will be poised to bring the Japanese manufacturer its first win at Valencia.

New wave of rookies - A new class of 10 rookies is debuting in NWES at Valencia, including young talents like Guillaume Dumarey, Gil Linster, Maciej Dreszer and Evan Pichard Arnaud, but also expert drivers like Andrea Perlini and Gunther Deutsch.

Tight competition in the Legend Trophy - Eric De Doncker’s five Legend Trophy wins in the last four races at Valencia give the Belgian the favorite’s role in Spain, but the competition will be strong, starting with 2016 trophy winner Jerry De Weerdt. But keep an eye also on Dario Caso, Mirco Schultis and the rest of the combative Legend Trophy group.

A new lady on the grid - Valencia native Carmen Boix Gil will begin her NASCAR career straight with her home race at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo. With experience in single seaters and touring cars, the 21-year-old will aim straight to dethrone Arianna Casoli in the Lady Cup standings at the wheel of the #1 Alex Caffi Motorsport Ford Mustang she will share with fellow countryman Borja Garcia. 

First Iranian driver joins NWES - The latest addition to the NWES grid is Meisam Taheri, who will bring the Iranian flag to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series grid in Valencia. The rookie coming from GT and prototype racing will share the #95 Dog Racing Ford Mustang with returning 2010 Champion Lucas Lasserre.

ELITE 2 Champions
2016 Stienes Longin
2015 Gianmarco Ercoli
2014 Maxime Dumarey
2013 Anthony Gandon
2012 Simon Escallier
NASCAR OFFICIAL SERIES
2011 Romain Fournillier
2010 Emmanuel Brigand
2009  -

 

Most Wins At Valencia
Gianmarco Ercoli 2
Thomas Ferrando 2
Stienes Longin 2
Simon Escallier 1
Neal Van Vaerenbergh 1

 

Valencia Manufacturer Wins
Chevrolet 7
Ford 1

 

Most Poles At Valencia
Salvador Tineo Arroyo 1
Neal Van Vaerenbergh 1
Florian Renauer 1
Simon Escallier 1