After nearly a month of waiting, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series returns to action next week for NASCAR GP of Italy, the second round of the season at Autodromo di Franciacorta. On May 4, an initial entry list for Franciacorta has been released by Euro Series via its official social media accounts. A total of 69 drivers across 21 countries will take part for NASCAR GP of Italy across Elite 1, Elite 2, and Elite Club.
After 42 Racing by FS Motorsports missed the season opening round at Valencia, all 33 teams are scheduled to enter the NASCAR GP of Italy. Despite this, there’s a possibility that the No. 10 Racing-Total JJCR team won’t take part in the race, as they are the only team with no driver entries confirmed yet. Jennifer Jo Cobb, the team’s Elite 2 driver, won’t be able to take part due to a schedule clash with the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, while it is unknown whether Miguel Angel Dasi – the initial entrant for the No. 10 car in Elite 1 – or Julio Carayol Casas – who did enter Valencia, but was forced to withdraw after a nasty accident during Practice – will take part at Franciacorta or not.
In the Elite 1 class, 31 drivers have been confirmed to take part in the 2019 NASCAR GP of Italy. 30 drivers are confirmed in the initial Entry List reveal on 4 May, while Eric Filgueiras was added to the Entry List on 6 May. There will be two driver changes, one of which is at Alex Caffi Motorsport as team owner Alex Caffi is scheduled to make his 2019 season debut in the No. 1 Ford Mustang. He would replace the defending Mexico Series champion Rubén García Jr., who drove the No. 1 car at Valencia as part of Euro Series’ Driver Exchange Program with the other NASCAR Home Tracks series.
The No. 70 Mishumotors team is also another team that will have a driver change. During the Valencia live stream broadcast, Bobby Labonte – who drove the No. 70 Mishumotors SS at Valencia – confirmed that he only has one race planned so far and with Bobby running part-time this season, the team would replace him with 2016 USF2000 National Class champion Eric Filgueiras for Franciacorta. This will mark Filgueiras’ debut in any NASCAR competition.
In addition, last year’s TCR Italy runner-up Luigi Ferrara – who is going to have his birthday on Sunday of race week – is scheduled to make his NASCAR debut in the wheel of the No. 42 Ford Mustang.
Two teams – Racing-Total JJCR and The Club – did not have a driver listed on the entry list. In The Club’s case, while Max Lanza ran double duty at Valencia and its likely that he will do the same at Franciacorta, it is also possible that drivers such as Fabrizio Armetta and Roberto Benedetti may took part in the place of Lanza instead.
Meanwhile in the Elite 2 class, there are 30 drivers that have confirmed their entries. 28 was confirmed in the initial Entry List reveal on 4 May, while Advait Deodhar and Eric Clement was added to the list on 6 May and 7 May respectively. There will be three driver changes for Franciacorta in Elite 2: 2014 French F4 champion Lasse Sørensen will replace Advait Deodhar in the No. 66 Dexwet DF1 Camaro, while Deodhar will temporarily move teams to replace Eric Quintal in Speedhouse 64’s No. 64 SS.
Last year’s NasKart: Road to NWES champion Moreno Di Silvestre will replace Taheri in the No. 31 CAAL SS, thus joining Alessandro Brigatti as the NasKart alumnis that have raced in NWES so far. Both Sørensen and Di Silvestre will make their NASCAR debuts this round.
In addition, both VW Fun Cup driver Claudio Remigio Cappelli and sports car racing veteran Eric Clément will also make his NASCAR debut at Franciacorta. Cappelli is scheduled to drive for 42 Racing in the team’s first race of the season, while Clément is scheduled to drive for Racing Engineering in the No. 88 team.
Three teams – Racing-Total JJCR and both RDV Competition cars – did not submit a driver to the entry list yet. Jo Cobb will not be able to race at Franciacorta due to schedule clash, while both RDV cars already did not take part in the Elite 2 class at Valencia.
Speedhouse 64 and the No. 88 Racing Engineering team initially also did not submit a driver to the Entry List, but they would be removed from this list after Deodhar and Clément’s addition to the team for Franciacorta.
As for the Elite Club category, 9 drivers have been confirmed to take part. Seven drivers are announced in the initial Entry List that was released on 4 May, while Myatt Snider and Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón were added to the list on 6 May and 9 May respectively. Three drivers – Elite Club championship leader Robert Schönau, Nadine Vollekier, and Thomas Krasonis – aren’t scheduled to return for Franciacorta.
Brazilian Deo Alves returns to the series after a year of absence as he will drive for Racers Motorsport in the No. 8 Mustang while Myatt Snider, the 2018 Truck Series Rookie of the Year, will made a surprise appearance in the Elite Club class in a late entry bid. He will drive the No. 48 Mustang, effectively replacing Racing Engineering’s team owner Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón in the Elite Club seat for the No. 48 team.
Orléans-Borbón himself would eventually enter the race as a late entry, as it is shown on the Entry List on May 9 that he will enter the Elite Club race at Franciacorta. With Snider taking over the No. 48 Mustang, Orléans-Borbón will drove the team’s No. 88 Mustang for Franciacorta.
The action for Franciacorta will start on Thursday, 9 May with the Elite Club class while the race action will start on Saturday, 11 May.
Update 1: The article was updated in 6 May to reflect the additions of Advait Deodhar in the Elite 2 Entry List and Myatt Snider in the Elite Club Entry List.
Update 2: The article was updated in 7 May to reflect the addition of Eric Filgueiras in the Elite 1 Entry List.
Update 3: The article was updated in 9 May to reflect the addition of Eric Clément in the Elite 2 Entry List and Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón in the Elite Club Entry List.
Photos are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and Stephane Azemard.