The first-ever NASCAR race held at Most tortures the favourites

30.06.2019 10:52

The OMV MaxxMotion NASCAR Show race weekend, which has its debut at Autodrom Most as well as in Eastern Europe, offered the first battles on the track on Saturday. The spectators, who turned out in great numbers despite the tropical heat, were attracted, in particular, by the opening race in the prestigious NASCAR Whelen Euro Series ELITE 1 class. Having started an hour after midday, the race destroyed the hot favourites’ hopes step by step. The Israeli Alon Day, a two-time champ and the points leader, had a race-ending collision that also shunted Jacques Villeneuve, the flying Canadian and a former Formula One champion, out of the race. Loris Hezemans, a young Dutch prodigy, retired as well after having led the race easily. The only Czech representative in the field, Martin Doubek, came home in twelfth spot.

Italian Nicolò Rocca took full advantage of the rivals’ failures becoming the first-ever NASCAR Euro Series winner at the new venue. Runner-up spot went to Stienes Longin of Belgium with the Frenchman Thomas Ferrando rounding off the podium places. To name but a few well-known starters, fifth place taken by Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, a member of a famous Dutch racing family, and a fourteenth-place finish scored by Ellen Lohr, a German legend who is the only female driver to win a DTM race so far, are worth mentioning.

There was a grid walk, which means an opportunity to move around the starting grid full of the special race cars and drivers just before the start of the race. Hundreds of spectators used this possibility. Moreover, they could watch a demonstration of American football shown by the Ústí nad Labem-based Blades team on the grass area on the side of the track. “I enjoyed the day very much”, said one of the satisfied fans. “It is the old fair kind of racing, and the humming of the eight-cylinder engines is a real treat. The races themselves brought a number of thrilling moments and duels poised on a knife-edge. The event is a success. I’ve given myself a beautiful present for my fiftieth birthday.”

Martin Doubek also appears in the ELITE 2 races for gentlemen drivers. After a qualifying session and a Superpole, he started in the Saturday inaugural race from the fourth position, which he failed to keep. In the end, he took the checkers at Number 6. “I’m disappointed in both categories. Having failed in the ELITE 1 qualifying session, I started as low as nineteenth. In the ELITE 2, I flumped my restart as two cars blocked me. I wore through my tyres and then I hit the kerb with my rear wheel, which cost me one more place”, said the nice driver after the first race. “A small comfort to me is the time I achieved. This secures the fifth starting position in the Sunday ELITE 1 race. I don’t know the grid order in the gentlemen category yet, but I should also start from one of the front rows”, he said.

Martin has come back to the NASCAR series after three absences. The reason was his injury suffered in an accident at Franciacorta, Italy. He had to undergo a surgery on a dislocated knee. “It is possible to race although it is still not okay. Nevertheless, I’m ready to contend for a much better result on Sunday in order to make the home crowd happy”, he added.

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 offers 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. The participants driving these cars raced for their first points of season on Saturday.

The Saturday programme of side events featured, above all, the traditional American entertainment and celebration of the shiny beautiful vintage cars. These activities culminated with a parade lap around the track on the major circuit involving the old-timers and American autos, the owners of which had their meeting at the Autodrom spectator bank on the occasion of the NASCAR and historic car races. Children had the time of their lives using the children’s traffic-drill playground and the adjacent attractions for kids such as jumping castles, climing frames and swings. Especially boys had a great time within the original Hot Wheels zone dedicated to the world of popular matchbox cars.

The programme continues on Sunday from 8:00 a.m. The drivers in all series are going to battle once again while the highlights of the side event programme are a Crazy Days motorcycle stunt show and a group of charming cheerleaders.

 


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