The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series returns to action this week for the series’ only oval race meet of the season, the 2019 American Car Fest at Raceway Venray. This will mark Venray’s return to the calendar after being absent in 2018 as well as the first Euro Series race meet in history where only one race is scheduled for both classes.
Yesterday, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series released the initial Entry List for Venray with 25 teams and 41 drivers listed to participate at Venray.
There has been plenty of changes in the teams that are scheduled to take part in Venray. Braxx Racing returns after missing the previous round at Most, but they would only enter the No. 78 team of Marc Goossens and Jerry de Weerdt for Venray. Marko Stipp Motorsport would also return after the team eventually decided to skip Most after being listed in the initial Entry List for Most. Just like in the initial Entry List for Most, MSM is scheduled to enter the No. 46 team for Venray.
Two teams – Alex Caffi Motorsport and Racers Motorsport – will enter a downscaled-effort for Venray. After losing the No. 27 team to CAAL Racing at Most, Alex Caffi Motorsport decided to only enter the No. 2 team for Venray. As for Racers, the team is scheduled to enter the No. 8 and No. 9 team and have opted to not field the No. 19 team.
Speedhouse 64 is absent in the Entry List once more while 42 Racing by FS Motorsports – who was listed in the Entry List at Most but ultimately didn’t appear – has decided to not take part in the Entry List. In addition, Eric de Doncker’s Motorsport 98 has joined the absentee list as the team isn’t listed in the initial Entry List for the first time this season.
In the Elite 1 class, 24 drivers have confirmed plans to race at Venray with only one team – Dexwet-DF1 Racing’s No. 66 team – did not have a driver listed in the initial Entry List.
Apart from Marc Goossens’ return, the only change in the Entry List in the Elite 1 class will be on Salvador Tineo Arroyo. The Spanish driver, who initially started the season with Speedhouse 64 and switched teams to Mishumotors for Most after Speedhouse opted to not enter the first NASCAR Euro race week at Czech Republic, will switch teams once more as he is listed to drive Marko Stipp Motorsport AmD Tuning’s No. 46 entry for Venray.
With Tineo Arroyo moving to MSM, Mirco Schultis is scheduled to do the double duty in the No. 70 team for Venray. This will mark Schultis’ return to the Elite 1 class since 2017.
In the Elite 2 class, 19 drivers have confirmed plans to race at Venray. Six teams – RDV, Go Fas, CAAL Racing’s No. 31 and No. 54 team, and Racing Engineering’s No. 88 team – did not have a driver listed in the initial Entry List.
Just like in the teams Entry List, there has been a lot of changes in the Entry List for Venray. Some of which will involve three of the Elite 2 title contenders of this season: Vittorio Ghirelli, Advait Deodhar, and Andre Castro.
Vittorio Ghirelli will remain with PK Carsport for Venray, but he is going to be transferred to the No. 24 team as cycling legend Niels Albert is scheduled to make his Euro Series debut in the No. 11 team for Venray.
Albert, along with Bert Longin and Tom Boonen, was already announced in the pre-season as one the drivers that will drive in the Elite 2 class for the No. 11 PK Carsport team this season. Albert, however is the only one that at that time did not have a race listed on his name – Bert was scheduled to enter in Valencia and ultimately would also take part in Franciacorta, while Boonen is scheduled to take part in Hockenheim and Zolder. The initial Entry List for Venray was the first confirmation on Albert’s intention to participate in the Euro Series since the initial roster reveal for the No. 11 team earlier in the year.
With Ghirelli transferred to the No. 24 team, this would mean that Andre Castro had to find a new team for Venray. Fortunately for the young American, he was able to find a new team as he has been listed in the Entry List to drive for Marko Stipp Motorsport in the No. 46 team for Venray.
As for Advait Deodhar, he has decided to miss Venray as he wasn’t able to earn the funds needed to race at Venray. In his official statement, Deodhar states that he will be focusing to earn enough funds to be able to race at Hockenheim and Zolder.
However, in the same official statement, Deodhar mentioned that drivers that compete for a full season must drop one race from their overall Championship results – in other words, only the best 12 results out of 13 counts. Thus, if Deodhar secured enough funds to race at Hockenheim and Zolder, then he can use the absence in Venray as his “joker” round in the Championship.
Deodhar won’t be the only absentee for CAAL Racing’s Elite 2 efforts for Venray. Arianna Casoli is also not listed in the Entry List for Venray. Earlier in June, she had revealed that she doesn’t have enough funds to race at Venray and is looking for funding to be able to compete in all 13 races for this season. Unfortunately for her, her absence in the Entry List meant that she wasn’t able to secure enough funding for Venray and barring a late entry, she is going to miss her first race meet since her debut in the series in 2016.
One driver will be returning to Elite 2 class for Venray – Racers Motorsport’s Simone Laureti. Laureti, who drove for the No. 19 team in Elite 1 this year and was the former record holder for the most starts in the Elite 2 class, will be returning to the Elite 2 as he will be reunited with his 2018 teammate Gianmarco Ercoli in the No. 9 Racers team for Venray.
Thomas Krasonis, Florian Venturi, and Eric Clément aren’t listed in the initial Entry List for Venray and unless they can find a ride after the release of the initial Entry List, they’re very likely to miss the only oval round of the season.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will hit the track for Round 9 of the 2019 season this weekend, with the Elite 2 race scheduled to be held on 13 July and the Elite 1 race to be held on the following day on 14 July. All races for this season are going to be aired live on FansChoice.tv, Motorsport.tv, and the official Facebook page and YouTube channel of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.