The largest NASCAR race weekend on the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series schedule is about to take place as fans get ready to pack Tours Speedway in France. According to many drivers and teams the preparations are just about ready for them to take on The Whelen Euro Series version of NASCAR'S Daytona 500!
What makes racing at Tours Speedway different is that in the NASCAR Euro series the drives are used to rad racing where they turn both right and left. Not at Tours - for many it will be the first time driving in a NASCAR style short track race! According to the series, and series PR contact Anne Galpin, the popularity of stock car style racing is exploding in Europe.
"Oval racing is quickly surging to a huge popularity thanks to the Tours Speedway, which in just two editions under the NASCAR banner has become one of the most coveted events in the European calendar. Drivers and teams are getting ready for the battle and each of them has different expectations for this unique weekend, but all somehow include winning"
Here are some quotes from driver press conferences courtesy of NWES Media.
Frederic Gabillon "I'm really happy to go back to Tours, because it's a very special track. It's a great event, with lots of fun, a unique atmosphere and lots of people watching the race," said Frederic Gabillon driver of the No. 12 Still Racing Chevrolet Camaro, who won both ELITE 1 races in 2013 and comes to Tours as one of the favorites. "We had a great car last year and I hope to win again. The competition will be very tough and restarts will be crucial."
"I think the setup will be less of a compromise, because both ends of the track are banked. We will be faster and we'll have a better chance to make the outside work," said reigning champion Ander Vilarino driver of the No. 2 TFT-Banco Santander Chevrolet SS, who raced on all the versions of the track and wants to close the 9-points gap that separates him from first place. "It's always difficult, because you have to stay focused on the championship and stay out of trouble until the end, but this time I definitely want to go for the win. Tours is unique because all the city is involved in the Festival and in the races and the fans are amazing."
"I'm very excited! From the pictures I saw, Team FJ and Nascar made a great job to design this unique track. It's going to be a very special event," declared championship leader Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS). "We did a few days of test sessions at an oval in Holland and we learned a lot setup-wise and driving-wise. I also had some calls with experienced NASCAR drivers and engineers in the US and I hope to be able to preserve my leadership."
Lauda, driver of the No. 66 DF-1 Racing by B66 Chevrolet Camaro, is also making his oval debut in Tours and thinks that practices will be fundamental to adapt to this new challenge: "It's a whole new experience for me," he said. "I have seen many NASCAR races on TV and oval racing cannot be compared to anything I've done before. The whole field is so close and I really look forward to it. For sure we will have to learn fast because there will be guys with more experience than us. We need to use the free practice time at best to be ready."
RACE NOTES When Where: Tours Speedway, France - July 5-6, 2014 Track Layout .403 miles (.650 Km) banked Oval Track Twitter: @ToursSpeedway12 Event hashtag: #wheleneuro #toursspeedway
Credits: NASCAR Whelen Euro Series / Stephane Azemard