Full credits to TotalRacing.gr and Dimitri Bizas for conducting the interview with Thomas Krasonis and Tzanetos Poulymenakos in providing the English subtitles for the interview to make this article into a possibility.
Thomas Krasonis, Euro Series’ first ever Greek driver, is a 17-year old young talent that is making his debut this season after competing in Mini Challenge Italia last year. Krasonis, who competed for Alex Caffi Motorsport in the Elite 2 class, currently sits in 16th place in the championship with a 6th place finish in the chaotic first Elite 2 race at Brands Hatch being his best finish of his season so far.
On August 19, Greek racing website TotalRacing.gr posted a video in their YouTube channel in which Krasonis was interviewed by Dimitri Bizas. In the interview, Bizas interviewed Krasonis on several topics such as his personal life and his journey in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Due to the length of the interview video, we’re going to split the interview articles into several parts, with today being the second part that focuses on how Krasonis was signed to drive for Alex Caffi Motorsport in the 2019 season and the major selling points of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series to racing fans around the world.
For the first part of this series of articles where we focused on Krasonis’ college aspirations and his transition from Mini Challenge Italia to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, you can check it out via the link here.
We can’t be more thankful for the crew at TotalRacing.gr for providing the English subtitles for the interview that made this article into a possibility.
Dimitri Bizas: “We talked about the past and the present, [but] I want to take a step back and ask you how did the NASCAR offer appear? Did you have alternatives? Have you heard anything about it before?”
Thomas Krasonis: “In the Mini Challenge, there was a team which was owned by Alex Caffi, and [Caffi] owns the team I race for in EuroNASCAR. After the good results I took in the Mini Challenge series, we received an invitation to test the [Euro Series] car in the team’s base in the Franciacorta circuit [for the 2018 Recruitment Days program].
I went there just to get the feeling of this series and we would see what we would do. We didn’t have any agreement. So, we went there, we took part in the test. I lost my mind, so did my dad, because it was a whole new level, and that showed. Despite the fact that only 3 cars took part in the test*, it was different, even the way engineers worked on the car [is different]. We immediately decided we wanted to race there. We had our goals set.
At first, we intended to take part only in selected races in order to get myself comfortable with the car and the racing format, and with the experience I would gain, I would return next year and be more competitive in the Elite 2 class. But, as the races went by, I will participate in the entirety of the calendar. We already took part in the first four races, and I will continue racing in the Playoffs.
This means that in each one of the remaining races, every point counts as double. Now it’s time to fight and that’s because there are a lot of drivers close in the standings, and my personal target is to finish in the Top 10. I’m 15th** now in the driver’s standings and the points difference is marginal from the 8th to the 18th place, we’re really close in the championship. Many things can happen, so my goal is to finish in every race and collect as many points as I can.
Bizas: “In your opinion, why would someone want to watch a EuroNASCAR race?”
Krasonis: “The races are not held in oval circuits, and we Europeans have been accustomed to racing in road courses, that’s our racing culture. That, and the fact that this series is a one-make series provides a lot of action, a lot of battles.
There is more overtaking here than in Formula One nowadays. All drivers are really close leveled, there are 5-6 drivers fighting for one position in every race. It’s a spectacular championship. It’s very interesting, you enjoy the racing, you can have fun watching this series.
You will see loads of battles for half an hour, you will see all those things from other series. It’s an old-school championship, every car is exactly the same as the other one, it’s a drivers’ championship. Everyone wants to win, everyone is at the top of their game, and that’s the reason there’s a lot of overtakes.”
Bizas: “And you can catch it on YouTube.”
Krasonis: “Yes, and on Facebook in the series’ page. It streams the races there. You can watch it for free, you don’t have to pay a subscription fee.”
Bizas: “Would you compare it with a touring car championship?”
Krasonis: “Yes. In its first years, there were not a lot of people watching this series. Far less drivers participated in it, there was not a huge name in the world of motorsport taking part in it and after 9-10 years, there are people like [Jacques] Villeneuve who race here. There’s [three-time Euro Series champion Ander] Vilariño as well and Christophe Bouchut raced in this series, too, and he’s a Le Mans winner.”
Bizas: “So, there are drivers that really appreciate this championship.”
Krasonis: “Sure, it’s something drivers have on their minds, drivers who are really competitive.”
Bizas: “I mean, Villeneuve decided to race there, and he’s a Formula One world champion.”
Krasonis: “And he’s an Indy 500 winner as well.”
* Recruitment Days test days usually have 3 cars provided to all drivers that took part in the testing, with the cars usually provided by Alex Caffi Motorsport. The 2018 Recruitment Days program that Krasonis took in Franciacorta uses two ex-Knauf Racing cars along with one car provided by Alex Caffi Motorsport.
** Krasonis is currently tied on points with Martin Doubek for 15th and 16th place. Both drivers have 159 points, but Doubek wins the tiebreaker by virtue of a better highest finish position (3rd at Valencia 1 for Doubek, 6th at Brands Hatch 1 for Krasonis).
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of Thomas Krasonis.