The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series weekend format is designed to bring excitement to the fans. Featuring 4 races in two days across the series’ two main divisions, the race week is going to give the fans the ultimate fan experience.
A standard NASCAR Whelen Euro Series race week starts on Friday, with a technical inspection for the competing cars followed by two (or three) EuroNASCAR Club Challenge sessions and two 30-minute Free Practice sessions for the two main classes. Qualifying and the Superpole session (for EuroNASCAR PRO drivers only) will then kick off the action on Saturday before it is followed by Race 1 for both EuroNASCAR PRO (distance of 75 km) and EuroNASCAR 2 (distance of 60 km). The weekend would reach its climax on Sunday, where Race 2 for both EuroNASCAR 2 and EuroNASCAR PRO are scheduled to be held.
Various race formats have also been used by the series over the years. Racecar Euro Series’ Endurance race format was brought to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series on its inaugural season under official NASCAR jurisdiction in 2012. Under this Endurance race format, the race is timed to approximately one hour long and featured driver changes if a team fields two different drivers for their entry.
The PRO class – Elite as it was called back then – drivers starts the Endurance race first and at half-distance, the race timer will be frozen and the Elite drivers will enter the pits to hand over their car to their EN2 – Open as it was called back then – class teammates. The grid is then re-ordered based on the EN2 class’ starting grid before the green flag was waved to signal the start of the Open class half of the race, held until the one-hour time limit is reached. For more information, you can check out our article from 2020 that explains the Endurance race format further.
A single-day format was trialed upon by the series for their visit to Raceway Venray in 2019. It featured a 2-day event for both classes instead of the usual 3-day event, with all EuroNASCAR 2 sessions was scheduled to be held on Saturday while all EuroNASCAR PRO sessions are held on Sunday.
A single 60-minute long Practice session was held to start the race day instead of the usual two 30-minute sessions, followed by the Qualifying and Superpole session before closing off with the single race scheduled for each class. The EuroNASCAR 2 class raced for 75 laps while EuroNASCAR PRO drivers raced a 100-lap race at Netherlands’ fastest oval circuit.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the series introduced two different race week formats to provide NASCAR Whelen Euro Series with an alternative should the series were unable to use the traditional race format. The first is the compact race week format, which the series used for the season opener at Vallelunga. The basics of the compact format are:
- Similar to the Venray format, all on-track activities for each class will be held on a single day: EuroNASCAR 2 on Saturday, EuroNASCAR PRO on Sunday.
- Instead of two 30-minute Practice sessions, the compact format will have a single 45-minute Practice session for drivers and teams to acclimatize themselves with the track.
- Qualifying and the two races will be held normally for both classes.
The second format introduced is the doubleheader “Super Speedweek” format, specifically used for the Valencia round after further scheduled shake-ups forced the series to host their last two rounds on the same weekend. The doubleheader week featured four races in a span of three days and a four-day long race week for both rounds.
The “Super Speedweek” started on Thursday with two Practice sessions followed by Qualifying for the first round on the following day. Three races – one for PRO, two for EN2 – was then held after Qualifying before EuroNASCAR PRO raced again on the following morning for their second race of the first round.
Qualifying for the second round was then held later in the afternoon before EuroNASCAR 2 held their first race of the second round. The remaining races – both PRO races and the second EN2 race – would then be held on Sunday to close off the doubleheader weekend.
NASCAR Whelen Euro Series uses the procedures that is seen in the United States, such as rolling start, double file restarts, and the usage of green-white-checkered/Overtime finish. NASCAR Whelen Euro Series also uses the current points system used by NASCAR’s three national series, albeit with three major differences:
- The Euro Series playoffs, which for 2022 is scheduled to be held at Rijeka, will award all participating drivers and teams with double points. On these races, drivers and teams will earn 80 points for a race win, 70 for second, 68 for third and so on.
- Instead of Stage points, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series awards 4 extra championship points (8 for playoffs) for the driver that gained the most positions in a race. If several drivers are tied for most positions gained, the bonus points will be awarded to the driver that have the higher finishing position.
- Drivers can drop their worst result(s) from a non-Playoff race into their final points tally. For the 2022 season, the drivers can drop the worst two (2) results from the “regular season” portion of the calendar.
In between the races, there are many activities that the fans can take part on, such as grid-walks and pit-walks, an open paddock for the fans to meet the drivers and teams and to see the cars and the racing heroes up close, autograph sessions, and an opportunity to take part in the 2-seater co-drive experiences. There are also many other entertainment events held around the track area that will give fans an experience on the unique NASCAR atmosphere.
Information are provided from the official 2019 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Digital Presentation, the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Digital Presentation, the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Sporting and Safety Procedure Changes, the 2021 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Sporting Changes, and MOOG EU’s NASCAR® EXPLAINED.
Disclaimer: Unless noted on the photo, all photos are courtesy of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard.