The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is in full swing, and for the first time since 2019, the series touches down in the Netherlands for the hugely anticipated race at Raceway Venray. Sitting close to the German and Dutch borders, Venray is the only oval on the Euro Series calendar and adds yet another twist to this exciting NASCAR series. Unlike the rest of the Euro NASCAR weekends, we wont have the four races split across the two days but instead will see NASCAR 2 taking center stage on Saturday and NASCAR Pro getting its time to shine on Sunday. This has led to a number of drivers deciding to race in both the Pro and 2 this weekend. 

Ryan Vargas is the huge favorite to step atop the podium heading into this weekend, with the former Xfinity driver announcing that he will be taking part in NASCAR 2 as well as his usual Pro series race for the first time this season. Vargas, of course, grew up racing on short tracks and has put in the hard work on the road course-dominated series with a clutch of fine finishes throughout the season so far. Ryan has been keen to point out that the Euro Series cars are very different from those he grew up racing with in the United States, but he did jokingly say in a post-race interview at Brands Hatch that “I’m taking it to the wall.”. 

The NASCAR 2 series has been dominated by the Dutch team Hendriks Motors with Martin Doubek and Gil Linster; having finished on the podium in every race so far this season; in fact, Martin Doubek has won every race apart from 2, the others being won by his teammate Gil Linster and British driver Jack Davidson, who won that thrilling Sunday race at Brands Hatch last time out. The Hendriks pair will be confident heading into the 70-lap opening race. Linster will be forgiven for feeling extra confident having tested and raced in ARCA at Daytona earlier this year. He won’t be alone with having raced on ovals before, with Thomas Krasonis having past experience on this type of track as well. This race will kick off the weekend on Saturday at 14.55 European time and 8.55 EST time. 

All eyes on Sunday will be on the 20 drivers in the Pro Series as they take center stage for their 100 lap race. This also starts at 14.55 p.m. European time and 8.55 a.m. EST time. The Pro series has been dominated by Italian Vittorio Ghirelli who has won 4 of the opening 6 races, with the other 2 being won by the Dutch driver Liam Hezeman, who will have experience racing at Venray in other series to call upon this weekend. Hezeman will, be joined by fellow Dutch driver Sebastiaan Bleekemolen on the starting grid, who, along with Ryan Vargas, are the only drivers with extensive short-track experience to call upon come race time. 

The Euro Series is always a great watch, and each race weekend throws up one of two surprises when they are racing on the more familiar European-style road courses, but racing on an oval will be a new experience for a large majority of the drivers and teams heading to southern Holland this weekend and should make for a wild weekend of NASCAR on the other side of the Atlantic. 

Martyn Norman
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