Ryan Vargas Claims First Euro Series Podium

After a 5-year wait, the Euro series finally went racing on an oval again. The hype heading into this weekend’s races were like nothing seen before in NASCAR this side of the Atlantic. The fear was would live up to that hype? Those fears were quickly put to bed with a highly competitive NASCAR 2 race on Saturday putting on a show for the fans. 

All eyes were on Ryan Vargas and whether he could live up to the billing as the firm favorite to win his first foray into the 2 series. The most experienced driver on Oval lived up to his billing and finally got to set foot on a Euro NASCAR podium with a hard-fought 3rd place finish. The American was made to work for spot on the podium with the fastest rookie on the grid, Victor Newmann, hot on his heels all race. The Frenchman looking like he had raced on ovals just as long as Vargas has. Vargas will feel a tad frustrated that he wasn’t able to catch second-placed Claudio Cappelli before the finish, with the best beard in NASCAR having enough to cross the line in second. Martin Doubek now has a firm hold of the championship in NASCAR 2 after leading this race in dominant fashion, getting off to a quick start and opening up an uncatchable lead. Post-race,  the Czech driver was beaming with delight, telling the media in Victory Lane, “Its Amazing,” before swearing twice live on air. The Hendriks team will leave Venrey feeling frustrated with only having one man on the podium, after seeing Gil Linster retire from the race early on with a mechanical issue early on. 

Fans would have been forgiven for wondering if the pro race on Sunday would be able to better that of the previous days race, and boy did they. The dominant and current champinship leader Vittorio Ghirelli started from pole but wouldn’t be there for long after a poor start saw the number 50 driven by Liam Hezemans pass him easily to take the lead. The Dutchman driving on home soil remained there for the rest of the race, dealing with the mountain of traffic at times to stay clear; even a late restart wasn’t enough to stop the Flying Dutchman from taking the win. Once again, the story was further back in the race, with multiple cars battling it out for a top-10 finish. At one point, we saw five different drivers battling it out from 8th to 12th. It was Thomas Toffel, the man at the back of that pack, who casued the only caution of the weekend spinning out heading into turn one in the closing stages of the race and, with it, overtime. The Italian Mario Ercoli survived to take second, and the Frenchman Paul Jouffreau ran through Ryan Vargas at the restart to take third. 

The story and anger wasn’t confined to the race, with scences of a visably angry Ryan Vargas making his feelings known to the Paul Jouffreau. Ryan saying post-race to the Euro NASCAR media team, “He (Paul Jouffreau) drove through me,” the American going on to add, “I spent 70 laps with Claudio Capelli not touching. Respectful racing, as oval racing should be, Paul got to my rear bumper, didn’t even give me a lap, he just drove through my rear end.” At the time of writing, there has been no response from the French driver, but with the next race not until August 31st, the chance for any type of response from Vargas on the track will have to wait.

Martyn Norman
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