India’s Advait Deodhar has enjoyed a stellar rookie season in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series’ Elite 2 class this year, as the defending Elite Club champion scored Top 10 finishes in all but one race that he took part so far. Some of his best drives include when he took his first podium finish in the chaotic first race at Brands Hatch and when he recovered from an early spin to score a 7th place finish in the second race at Most.
Deodhar currently sits in 5th in the championship standings – 43 points behind championship leader Giorgio Maggi – and given his current form so far, he is likely going to play a major part in the upcoming Playoffs.
However, his season has been marred by continuous funding issues. Originally contracted to drive for Dexwet-DF1 Racing in the No. 66 team, Deodhar was replaced by Lasse Sørensen at Franciacorta due to funding issues and had to jump from one team to another before finally finding a home at CAAL Racing to become the Elite 2 teammate of Mauro Trione in the No. 31 team starting from Brands Hatch.
Even then, his struggles did not stop as he nearly missed the races at Most had he didn’t receive a last-minute sponsorship backing that allowed him to race at the Czech Republic and would ultimately miss the sole oval round at Venray, once again due to sponsorship issues. Reportedly, he still hasn’t secured enough funding to be able to compete in the upcoming Playoff races at Hockenheim and Zolder.
Despite this, Deodhar remains positive on his future and to raise awareness for any potential sponsors that want to further finance his racing career, the Mumbai-born driver has approached us to do an exclusive, two-parter interview that we announced yesterday on our Twitter account.
Today, in the second part of these exclusive interview, we will be focusing on the adversity that he has faced this year, his experiences in competing with the powerhouse CAAL Racing, and his expectations for the future of his NASCAR career.
For the first part where we focused on the start of his racing career, how Deodhar got to know the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, and his 2019 season so far, you can check it out in the link here.
We are thankful to Advait Deodhar for making this into a reality and we wished him the best of luck for both the upcoming 2019 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Playoffs and the future of his racing career.
You faced some very tough opponents such as Giorgio Maggi, Vittorio Ghirelli, Lasse Sørensen, Myatt Snider, and Andre Castro this year. Who do you think is the hardest opponent to race with?
Advait Deodhar: These guys are so quick and have amazing experience! The Elite 2 pole has been faster than Elite 1 pole twice! Just shows you the level of drivers in this category.
For me, I think Lasse is the most all round of the lot, followed by Giorgio Maggi. Both very clean [drivers] and in complete control of what they’re doing. They don’t make any mistakes. On pure pace, I think Andre Castro is close as well. He’s had some bad luck but I think when it clicks, he’s very very quick.
On the pre-season, it is reported that you’re going to compete in the No. 66 Dexwet-DF1 team for the full season, but ultimately you were replaced by Lasse Sorensen starting from Franciacorta. Do you still have any hard feelings from it, or do you think the change is justified?
Deodhar: Yeah, unfortunately I didn’t have the budget and still don’t. Lasse came with the full budget and it’s justifiable that I was replaced, no hard feelings. It’s a business they are running so it’s understandable.
Speaking of Lasse, were you surprised by how fast he is?
Deodhar: Wow this guy is quick! Within the first 5 laps of our test in Franciacorta, I knew he was special. Probably the quickest guy I’ve ever seen.
You have driven for three teams this year: Dexwet-DF1, Speedhouse 64, and CAAL Racing. What do you think is the biggest difference between these three teams?
Deodhar: I’d say they are all very different in their own way. I’d rather not comment on anything in case I get misunderstood.
Do you just asked the teams to see if there’s an open seat for you to race?
Deodhar: It was wherever my limited budget allowed me to race!
At CAAL Racing, you shared the No. 31 car with Mauro Trione. Trione is also a part racer, part businessman, and he certainly has plenty of experience in both. How would you describe the experience of working with Trione?
Deodhar: Mauro is such a great and funny guy. He’s great to have in the team and always keeps us entertained. With his experience, he does give me good feedback on what I’m doing.
What about the other CAAL drivers, like Alon Day, Arianna Casoli, and your new teammates Thomas Ferrando and Pierluigi Veronesi? I imagine being teammates with the defending champion himself is making you both excited and nervous…
Deodhar: I think it’s amazing to have Alon and Thomas in the same team. I can learn so much from looking at their data. It’s a massive bonus being partnered with them and they are very helpful.
If you had to pick one Euro Series driver to earn a shot to compete full-time in either Cup, Xfinity, or the Truck Series, who would it be and why?
Deodhar: Advait Deodhar. He’s the fastest and most all-around driver. Heard he’s a nice guy as well. 😉
What are your goals for the future, or at the very least the 2020 season?
Deodhar: Get sponsorship, win the title. I have no idea what the future has in store. I can’t pay for my racing on my own again and I really want to land a big backer to take me to the States. I’m the only Indian competing and there’s immense marketing potential. I really hope someone sees that soon…!
To any aspiring Asian drivers that are interested to compete in NASCAR, what is the advice that you want to share with them?
Deodhar: It’s an amazing series with some extremely talented drivers competing. I would highly recommend driving in the Euro NASCAR Championship.
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of Michael Großgarten.