Liam Hezemans the sole leader of Junior Trophy after NASCAR GP UK victory

Hendriks Motorsport’s young ace Liam Hezemans has taken the outright lead of the Junior Trophy classification for drivers aged 25 and under for the first time in the 2024 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season. Hezemans was tied in points with RDV Competition pilot Paul Jouffreau prior to the NASCAR GP UK at Brands Hatch’s legendary Indy Circuit, but with a dominant second victory of the year in EuroNASCAR PRO Round 6, the Dutchman moved into a solitary lead. The new king of the American SpeedFest now has a five point advantage entering his home event, the NASCAR Oval GP at the half-mile oval of Raceway Venray.

After two solid events in Spain and Italy, Hezemans was poised to continue his strong start to the 2024 season. The driver of the #50 Toyota Camry opened his weekend in the UK with a sixth place finish on Saturday. Crucially, he also clocked the fastest lap of the race and with pole position on Sunday secured, the 21-year old went on the attack. He perfectly defended his lead at both the start and the restart, which was the key for him to secure not just the third victory of his EuroNASCAR PRO career, but also the top spot in the Junior Trophy. He now sits third in the overall standings with 190 points, 14 behind overall leader Vittorio Ghirelli.

Jouffreau’s weekend at Brands Hatch went pretty much the other way around. The Frenchman challenged Ghirelli for the victory on Saturday and grabbed a second place finish to win the Junior Trophy. However, he was taken by surprise when he found out that his best lap time was only enough for eighth on the grid in Round 6. Facing a daunting task at the challenging 1.944-kilometer Indy Circuit, the Blaye native did his best and scored important points in sixth. He will regroup with RDV Competition and get ready for his first time on the oval at Raceway Venray.

Hezemans and Jouffreau evenly split the Junior Trophy wins so far with three each. Two drivers with plenty of oval experience are following them in the standings: Thomas Krasonis and Ryan Vargas. Krasonis raced at New Smyrna Speedway in the United States in 2023 and 2024 and is looking forward to his first oval race in EuroNASCAR. In the special classification, the Athens native lost plenty of ground after his first retirement of the season on Sunday and is planning to bounce back with a strong outing in the Netherlands.

Vargas raced almost exclusively on ovals before he tried EuroNASCAR in 2023 and grew to love it. The 3F Racing star is a veteran in both the Xfinity and Truck Series and is arguably the driver everyone will wait for in the NASCAR Oval GP. The 23-year old will carry plenty of momentum after an excellent outing in his first visit to Brands Hatch. On Saturday he let himself down by going off the track with just three laps to go in Round 5, but bounced back in Round 6 to claim another Junior Trophy podium and his first overall top-10 finish in 2024.

Local hero Jack Davidson holds fifth place in class and continues his learning curve in EuroNASCAR’s top division. Thomas Dombrowski is sixth ahead of Max Marzorati, who came close to his first podium in Round 5. Julien Rehberg completes the Junior Trophy standings in eighth. The battle will be continued on 29-30 June with the thrills of short track racing in Raceway Venray. All qualifying and races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel and plenty of TV stations from all around the world.