Thrilling season finale in Spain ends a memorable year of motorsport
Hanover, December 2020. Alon Day has won the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series 2020. The 29-year-old took victory in EuroNASCAR PRO Final 1 at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo at the weekend. And fourth place in Final 2 was enough to earn his third title, the Israeli driver having also topped the rankings in 2017 and 2018. He is only the second driver – after Spain’s Ander Vilarino – to win three EuroNASCAR titles. And with the 23rd victory of his career on Saturday, he also broke Vilarino’s all-time record for race wins. “I have no words,” said the new champion. “It was such a hard time living alone with the lockdown, physically and mentally. This weekend was one of the most demanding in my life. We made it! I thank the whole team and I’m a happy boy right now.”
Second in the overall standings was Lasse Sörensen of Denmark, who wrapped up the Junior Trophy 2020 (for drivers up to 25 years of age) in the process. Italy’s Vittorio Ghirelli crowned his season in EuroNASCAR 2 with victory in Final 2 and the overall title. Ghirelli’s compatriot Davide Dallara finished eighth in the last race of the EuroNASCAR PRO season, which was enough to see him lift the Challenger Trophy.
Fantastic racing, despite the circumstances
Alon Day’s celebrations brought the season to an end at the venue where it was originally due to start. NASCAR GP Spain was initially scheduled as the season curtain-raiser in April, but the spread of the coronavirus pushed it back to the end of the season. And the pandemic also caused major upheavals elsewhere in the racing calendar. Fans had been looking forward to seven race weekends, but eventually had to settle for five – and wait until September at the Autodromo Piero Taruffi in Vallelunga, Italy before the drivers were finally able to fire up their V8 engines and get their tires smoking for the first time in 2020. Once again, those tires were supplied exclusively by General Tire. The tradition-rich brand with its American heritage developed a new race tire (slick, 300/700 R 15) for the start of the 2020 campaign based on last season’s predecessor. General Tire has been actively involved in motorsport since 1957 and has produced tires for the NASCAR race series since 1988.
2019 champion Loris Hezemans got off to the best start in 2020. The Dutchman won the opening race of the season ahead of overall-champion-to-be Alon Day and Gianmarco Ercoli. The Italian then roared to victory in the second race of the weekend. Day finished fourth, with Lasse Sörensen – who went on to finish runner-up in the rankings – close behind in fifth.
From then on, the action came thick and fast. Sörensen was the first to shine on the challenging rises and falls of the Zolder circuit in Belgium in early October, the Danish driver recording his first EuroNASCAR PRO race win and taking the lead in the overall standings. Day hit back in Race 2 with his first win of 2020, moving three points ahead of Sörensen in the rankings. In mid-November, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series stopped off in Croatia. Day extended his lead in the overall standings to 15 points at the twisty Automotodrom Grobnik circuit, establishing a strong platform from which he was eventually able to secure the title in Spain.
The race weekend in Valencia brought an extremely challenging 2020 season to an end. “Despite the unpromising circumstances, we were able to organize several wonderful races across Europe,” sums up Martin Heckers, responsible for racing tires at General Tire. “We are very grateful for the efforts of the organizers, teams, drivers and everyone involved that made it possible. The new tire specification works very well and all of these parameters have made the overall EuroNASCAR package even stronger. This season has shown that the EuroNASCAR family is an unstoppable force, no matter what challenges it may face.”