The American Festival of Rome became a big party for Alberto Naska as the CAAL Racing driver scored his first win of the 2023 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season in EuroNASCAR 2. After finishing second in Qualifying, the driver of the #54 Chevrolet Camaro took the lead at the start of Round 5 thanks to “a push from Gil Linster” and then dominated the race at the 4.085 kilometer long Autodromo di Vallelunga. The 33-year-old ended Vladimiros Tziortzis’ winning streak and put his name back into the title battle after finishing second three times this season. Tziortzis defended the overall lead, but Naska closed the gap to 14 points.
A fantastic start and a little help of the Hendriks Motorsport driver on board of the #50 Toyota Camry were the keys to success in a physical race due to the high temperatures in Italy. Despite feeling the heat of the pedals through his racing boots, Naska never backed off and kept a solid pace all race long. At the end of a EuroNASCAR 2 Round 5 he dominated, the Italian parked his CAAL Racing Chevrolet in Victory Lane and celebrated his sixth career win with thousands of fans waiting for their idol to climb out of the car. With the fastest lap of the race, Naska also secured the Pole Position for Sunday’s race.
“It’s the best day in my life!” said a jubilant, yet exhausted Naska in Victory Lane. “I don’t know what to say, I had to take off my shoes here because my feet were burning and the pedals were at a hundred degrees. They told me not to overdrive the car at the beginning, so I found the pace and apparently it was the fastest pace of the race! So, finally I learned what they meant with ‘don’t push to go faster’ and that’s what I did for the first time!”
Finishing second was Paul Jouffreau, who’s pulling double duty for RDV Competition by racing in both NWES divisions. After finishing third on his EuroNASCAR PRO debut, the Frenchman still had the energy to bring home a second place finish in EuroNASCAR 2. Jouffreau scored his fourth podium finish of the season and fifth consecutive top-5 result in 2023. He edged out Gil Linster, who finally made it onto the podium after finishing fourth three times and inside the top-5 four times. The Luxembourger was passed by Tziortzis in the last lap of the race, but due to the contact they made, the Cypriot was relegated back to fourth by Race Control.
Patrick Schober made an incredible comeback after starting the race from the pit lane. The #27 Ford Mustang was damaged in EuroNASCAR PRO due to an accident involving the Austrian’s teammate Stefano Attianese. Double V Racing repaired the car just in time and despite having to start from the back of the grid, Schober was able to carve his way up the ranks to an excellent fifth place finish. He beat Claudio Cappelli, who took the win in the Legend Trophy for drivers aged 40 and over for Race Art Technology. The Italian beat the reigning Legend Trophy Champion Melvin de Groot, who was seventh under the checkered flag.
Scoring his fourth Rookie Trophy race win with the eighth place overall was Thomas Dombrowski. The Frenchman extended his lead in the special classification, while Paolo Valeri rounded out the Legend Trophy podium in ninth ahead of 73-year-old Michael Bleekemolen. Thomas Toffel took second in the Rookie Trophy despite a spin courtesy of Nick Schneider, who nonetheless rounded out the podium in twelfth overall after receiving a penalty for the collision. Arianna Casoli finished the race in 16th to take honors in the Lady Trophy.
The NASCAR GP Italy will be back in action on Sunday with two more races on the schedule. While EuroNASCAR 2 Round 6 will begin at 10:10 CEST, the EuroNASCAR PRO drivers will be back in action at 13:35 CEST. All races will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV channels from all around the world.