World of EuroNASCAR’s second Race Preview for NASCAR GP Italy at Vallelunga previews the upcoming battles in the EuroNASCAR PRO class with many familiar names returning to compete in the third round of the 2022 EuroNASCAR season.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series returns this week for the last round before the summer break as the series returns to Rome’s Autodromo Vallelunga for the third round of NASCAR GP Italy – American Festival of Rome.
Held at Vallelunga’s 4.085 km-long International Circuit, NASCAR GP Italy was initially scheduled to host an All-Star Event on the short Club Circuit this year. However, a schedule shake-up following the cancellation of the round at Hockenheim meant that Vallelunga’s status as a championship round was reinstated and with it, the International Circuit was called upon once more to host the roaring thunder of EuroNASCAR stock cars.
The Provisional Entry List as of today, 8 July 2022, will see 35 teams and 60 drivers enter the gladiatorial battle at Vallelunga and we have received news that there are more changes coming to the horizon.
Much like our past Race Previews for this year, the Preview will be divided into three parts as we will focus on the changes in the Entry List on the first part while EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2 will receive their dedicated Race Previews in Parts 2 and 3.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Following the huge success of American SpeedFest 9 at Brands Hatch, NASCAR GP Italy is set to break records once more as 32 drivers are listed to compete in the EuroNASCAR PRO class which would, once again, break the previous record of entrants that was set before for EuroNASCAR’s Italian round.
Current championship leader Nicolo Rocca is one of the favorites to win this weekend. Rocca has maintained a streak of 4 Top-10 finishes to start off the 2022 season and with an 18-points lead in the standings, he looks set to make a strong impression in front of his home crowd.
His closest championship rival Alon Day is no stranger when it comes to breaking records and setting new milestones. Over the course of his career Day has set the new milestone for most wins, most poles, most fastest laps and most podiums in the top class of EuroNASCAR and naturally he wants to set another historic milestone as the first driver to score 30 wins in EuroNASCAR this weekend.
Speaking of milestones, SpeedHouse driver Alexander Graff enters Vallelunga with high hopes after he became the first Swedish driver to win in EuroNASCAR. Graff, who currently sits 3rd in the standings, is almost certain to try and confirm his momentum as a potential championship contender on his first visit to the Italian track as an EuroNASCAR competitor.
As for Gianmarco Ercoli, NASCAR GP Italy would be a crucial round for him as the incident with Alon Day in the second race at Brands Hatch left the Italian incredibly frustrated with the three-time champion, going as far as calling Day a “great asshole” on social media after the race.
What’s worse is that with two 26th place finishes, Ercoli had effectively used both of his joker rounds meaning that he can’t afford any more mistakes if he wants to have a strong chance to win the title in 2022.
Giorgio Maggi and Martin Doubek would also try to confirm their own momentum as a potential candidate for the win this weekend after they secured their first podium of the season at Brands Hatch. Both drivers have showcased that they’re capable of performing at the top despite the challenges that they faced this year and it’s likely that they would provide a surprise for the fans on race day.
Maggi, in particular, will enter this week’s round as the leader in the Junior Trophy and would likely maintain this status following the announcement from Tobias Dauenhauer that he would be forced to sit out from NASCAR GP Italy due to sponsorship reasons.
Despite this, the competition for the individual Junior Trophy win itself is expected to be fierce given that Dauenhauer’s replacement Liam Hezemans showcased plenty of potential on his top class debut at Brands Hatch. In addition, the return of veteran youngsters Alex Sedgwick and Thomas Ferrando are expected to spice up the competition for Junior Trophy honors even more.
Challenger Trophy’s situation has been turned upside down after the reveal that Martin Doubek has been removed from the Challenger Trophy competition after his podium finish at Brands Hatch. The removal meant that Fabrizio Armetta, Henri Tuomaala, and Yevgen Sokolovskiy are now placed in a three-way tie for the lead of the Challenger Trophy.
While Armetta looks to have the bigger momentum thanks to his first Top-10 finish since 2018 on the previous round, don’t count out Max Lanza just yet as the Italian is set to make his return to on-track competition after he was forced to not start the two races at Brands Hatch due to an ear inflammation.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Disclaimer: Unless noted on the photo, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Bart Dehaese / Klemen Sofric.