NASCAR has attracted thousands of fans to its debut at Most

01.07.2019 07:28

Close to 20,000 fans didn’t miss the opportunity to see the Czech debut of the European series of the American NASCAR cult motorsport event held at Autodrom Most this weekend. The battles fought by special five-litre eight-cylinder engine cars culminated with a race where this season’s series points were awarded both on Saturday and Sunday. “According to the early response from the drivers, teams, officials and spectators, the weekend has been a big success. We’re very pleased to hear that. In spite of the baking heat, we haven’t recorded any emergency. If we make an agreement with the promoter, we definitely want to hold these extremely attractive races again next year”, Jana Svobodová, the AUTODROM MOST Business and Marketing Manager, said judging the last weekend.

The man to have home advantage was the only Czech representative in the NASCAR field, Martin Doubek, who has taken part in the prestigious ELITE 1 category as well as the gentlemen ELITE 2 class. However, he was not satisfied with his performance. After twelfth and sixth spot respectively in Saturday races and retirement from the Sunday ELITE 2 race, Doubek at least returned the spectators’ favour with spectacular battles during the final ELITE 1 race. Having started from fifth position, Martin fought for fourth spot with the Frenchman Romain Iannetta with varying degrees of success. But his enormous effort resulted in a momentary spinout towards the end of the race with another French driver, Ulysse Delsaux, quickly taking advantage of the situation. Eventually, Martin crossed the line in sixth place. All the same, the fans rewarded his endeavour with well-deserved applause.

“During the Sunday ELITE 2 race, my gearbox broke, and as a result, my car only moved in first gear. That’s why I had to retire. I feel bad about screwing up the promisingly running ELITE 1 race. I was eager to finish on the podium. I was controlling my rivals behind me in my mirrors, the next moment it was too late to react, and so I lost one more position”, said Martin Doubek. Moreover, throughout the whole weekend, he struggled with a sore foot, which he had injured in an accident at Franciacorta, Italy. As a consequence, he had to undergo a surgery on a dislocated knee. “My foot took a battering. Now I must bounce back during a two-week break”, added the ever-smiling twenty-five years old driver.

The Sunday ELITE 1 race, too, was a disaster for the favourites. Those who gradually retired included the Israeli Alon Day, a two-time NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champ and the points leader until the weekend at Most, and the Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula One champion and the 1995 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner. Well, neither of the two finished even the Saturday race. At least the talented Dutch Loris Hezemans raise his spirits after having retired due to an engine failure on Saturday. On the other hand, he easily dominated the second race on Sunday.

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is the only racing series organised by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) outside North America where this kind of racing has been held on ovals continuously since 1948. The identically designed cars are powered by Chevrolet eight-cylinder engines delivering 450 bhp and featuring a manual four-speed gearbox and rear-wheel drive. There are no electronic aids available to the drivers. The only differences are car-body designs. The teams have their pick of the Chevrolet SS, Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang models.

Besides the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, the Most race weekend offered seven interesting support series headed by historic Formula car races including single-seaters that used to excel at the famous circuits all over the world during the last century. These were represented by the FIA Lurani Trophy with the Formula Junior cars, which was founded back in 1958 thanks to Count Lurani of Italy, who was close friends with the most famous Czechoslovak female driver, Eliška Junková. Further, it was the HAIGO series, where those Formula and touring cars compete that used to take part in the former Eastern Bloc’s Peace and Friendship Cup. The historic equipment was also represented by the Triumph & British GT Competition, DMV Formel V, and Kampf der Zwerge series.

The race programme was completed with the Drexler Automotive – AFR Pokal featuring F3, F4 and Formula Renault cars with the current special machines as it is in the NASCAR series. The Czech Republic was successfully represented by the young drivers Tom Beckhäuser, Václav Šafář and Tomáš Chabr.

The weekend programme of side events featured, above all, the traditional American entertainment and celebration of the shiny beautiful vintage cars made in the United States.


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