World of EuroNASCAR takes a look at the history of car number #100 in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, the only triple digit car number to have officially been used in EuroNASCAR.
A total of 83 car numbers have been used by the teams that were competing in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series over the past 11 seasons. The large variety of car numbers stemmed from EuroNASCAR’s adherence to the number regulations used by their counterpart in the United States: Teams are free to choose any number between 0 to 99 and 00 to 09 as long as the number hasn’t been chosen by another car in the grid.
There is, however, one car number that has been used in EuroNASCAR that did not follow the current regulations: #100. #100 is the only triple digit number to have been used in EuroNASCAR and its usage in EuroNASCAR was the only time a triple digit number has been used in any major NASCAR-sanctioned championship race since 1971.
Triple digit numbers have long been banned from usage in NASCAR, with it famously being the reason why Darrell Waltrip wasn’t allowed to run #300 as a tribute to former Cup Series champion Tim Flock on one Busch Series – now Xfinity Series – race in 1998.
This, of course, leads to one question: Why did EuroNASCAR allowed the usage of #100?
With today marking the 100 day mark before the 2023 EuroNASCAR season starts with the Arctic Ice Race in Rovaniemi, today World of EuroNASCAR will be taking a look at the story of EuroNASCAR’s only triple digit number.
The year was 2011 and it was the third season of Team FJ and Jerome Galpin’s Racecar Euro Series. Racecar Euro Series was establishing itself as one of the fastest rising stock car racing championship’s in the world thanks to its unique American-inspired events that became a hit with racing fans all across Europe.
Whenever a new season starts, there is sure going to be some new faces that are entering the series. One of the new faces that entered the series in 2011 is Stéphane Sabates, a French gentleman driver who joined Racecar Euro as the owner-driver of Still Racing.
Little is known of Sabates’ past racing experience, but he immediately made himself known in the Racecar Euro Series because of his unusual car number choice. Sabates, racing a Chevrolet Camaro sponsored by his own company Convergence Holdings, opted to run car number #100 for his self-owned entry.
Sabates ran a part-time schedule in both classes on his debut year, competing in the first three rounds at Nogaro, MotorLand Aragon and Zandvoort before returning for the fifth round at Brands Hatch. He scored two top-10 finishes in what we would now refer to as the EuroNASCAR 2 division, but he otherwise struggled as he consistently found himself in the lower half of the field during the races.
Sabates became a full-time contender in 2012, a year that saw plenty of changes for the series as a whole. For starters, NASCAR had officially signed an agreement with Team FJ to sanction Racecar Euro Series as part of its International division, turning Racecar Euro Series into NASCAR’s first European-based series and the third within NASCAR’s International umbrella.
Sabates had stepped down from his duties as primary team owner at Still Racing to allow 2011 champion Éric Hélary to take over the team managerial duties of his team. Still also expanded into a three-car team with the addition of the #14 car, driven by fellow gentleman driver Joseph Cozzella.
One thing stayed the same, however: The #100. For whatever reason, Sabates was allowed to keep the #100 on the side of his silver machine. It is unknown why NASCAR gave the green light for Sabates to grandfather his car number, but in any case Sabates was participating on his first – and as it turns out, only – season as a full-time competitor with Still’s #100 Camaro.
It was a much better year for Sabates in 2012, particularly in EN2 as Sabates scored three top-10 finishes – including a surprise top-5 finish in the second Valencia race – on his way to finish 9th in the overall standings.
2012 also presented Sabates with his first chance of racing in the ovals, but he was going to race the silver #100 machine in the Open class only for the exhibition round at Tours Speedway. With Sabates not racing in the top class at Tours, Éric Hélary decided to call the services of his old karting rival to race the #100 there: Touring car legend Yvan Muller.
Muller was just the second driver to race the #100 in EuroNASCAR. Even though Muller did not score any championship points due to Tours being designated as a non-championship round, he did score the #100 car’s highest ever finish: A third place finish in the Sunday race, the only podium scored by a triple digit car number in EuroNASCAR history.
Sabates returned to a part-time schedule the following year, competing in the season opener at Nogaro before making appearances at Brands Hatch, Tours and Monza. He continued to drive the #100 car in both classes that year, except for Tours where he once again opted to race in the Open class only.
His replacement this time around is his team boss, Éric Hélary. Hélary, who returned to the cockpit of an EuroNASCAR stock car for the first time since his title win in 2011, made his first start in the NASCAR era and became the third driver to race the #100 in EuroNASCAR.
Helary showed that he had lost none of his speed by qualifying third and second for the Michelin 100 and Tours Evenements 100 respectively, but incidents meant that he only finished 19th and 10th in the two races held at Tours.
Sabates returned to the car at Monza for what turned out to be the final race of the #100 car in EuroNASCAR history. Sabates would return for two more part-time campaigns, but neither he or Still Racing would race the #100 again.
EuroNASCAR subsequently began to adopt and enforce the number rules that NASCAR used in the United States, preventing any case of a team attempting to use a triple digit number again in the future.
This ruling is shown when PK Carsport attempted to enter the #999 for Dylan Derdaele and Pol van Pollaert in the playoff rounds of 2019. Their attempt was rejected by EuroNASCAR and PK would subsequently use the #98 for Derdaele and von Pollaert’s entry.
In two seasons of car number #100’s time in EuroNASCAR, the car started a total of 34 championship races and 4 non-championship races. It finished on the podium once, courtesy of Muller’s podium in the Tours exhibition race, and it scored two top-5 finishes and 9 top-10 finishes across both EuroNASCAR PRO and EuroNASCAR 2, all but two of them were scored by Sabates.
Car number #100’s time was a short one, but it was able to make itself stand out as one of the most unique car numbers in the sport’s history thanks to its status as the sole triple digit number in EuroNASCAR.
Disclaimer: Unless noted on the photo, all photos used in this article are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.