Yesterday, Stienes Longin officially announces his return to PK Carsport’s No. 11 Chevrolet Camaro in the EuroNASCAR PRO class for the 2020 season as he aims to win the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series title to follow up on the runner-up finish that he scored last year.
Previously, Belgian website Autosport reveals that Stienes is expected to return to the No. 11 Chevrolet Camaro this year when the website first reported on Guillaume Dumarey’s return to the No. 24 PK Carsport team in the EuroNASCAR 2 class back on 30 January.
Projob Workwear is also scheduled to be returning as the primary sponsor for the No. 11 PK Carsport team once again.
“Everybody was happy with what we did last year, but the goal is to win the championship,” said Stienes on his goals for 2020 to euronascar.com. “We have to gain just one more place, the most difficult one, and become champions. I think I learnt a lot in 2019. Especially the difference between finishing on the podium and winning a title. With PK Carsport and Projob Workwear we did a lot together, we improved together and we all have one common goal: raise the biggest trophy at the end of the season and fly to the NASCAR Hall Of Fame.”
Last year, Stienes enjoyed a breakthrough season in his third season of competing in the PRO class. He established himself as one of the main championship contenders early in the season as he become the marker for consistency with six second-place finishes in the first 8 races of the season, enough for Stienes to secure the championship lead coming to the Playoff rounds of the year.
A disastrous round at Hockenheim, which saw Stienes retiring in Race 1 after a collision with Alon Day and finishing outside of the Top 15 in Race 2, effectively ended his championship hopes early in the Playoffs but he bounced back to the top in his home race at Zolder as he finally secured his first career victory in the PRO class on the final race of the 2019 season.
That victory, according to Stienes, makes him confident on his chances of winning the title in 2020.
“With so many second places I knew I was capable of winning, but you have to win one to know how it really feels,” said Stienes on his victory at Zolder. “Now I’m confident the pieces of the puzzle will fall together. I don’t think I have to do things in a much different way, but I have to handle things differently.”
To help boost Stienes’ chances of winning the title this year, PK Carsport team owner and former two-time Euro Series champion Anthony Kumpen will be taking over the spotter duties for the 2016 EuroNASCAR 2 champion this year. His father Bert, who briefly returned to the series in the EN2 class for the first two rounds of 2019, will continue to help manage Stienes’ preparation for the 2020 season.
“Sometimes, in a father-son situation, emotions can have the better of you both and that’s why we decide that Anthony will coach and spot Stienes. I’ll always be there and I’ll be focusing on other aspects and I am absolutely happy to be part of this NASCAR and PK Carsport families once again,” said Bert to euronascar.com.
“I have known Stienes since he was one year old so this is definitely going to be special for me. I know him very well, I know what he’s feeling when he’s racing and I think this will allow me to help him as much as possible not only between races but also during the race,” said Kumpen to euronascar.com.
“He did really well in 2019 and the goal is to fight for the championship in 2020. The first win is the most difficult one and that is in the books. The same way you have to learn how to win races, you have to learn how to win championships and I think Stienes has all the potential to be an even stronger title contender than last year.”
With the 2019 Hockenheim round still in mind, Stienes knew that he and his team will need to be able to perform at their best for 2020’s expanded Playoff system.
“With three playoff events, Vallelunga and Zolder will be even more important to position ourselves for the Finals. We have to be at our very best from September on. We’ll make sure to be ready.”
Disclaimer: Unless noted, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard / Bart Dehaese.