NASCAR Whelen Euro Series

Alon Day records EuroNASCAR hat trick, Vittorio Ghirelli wins EuroNASCAR 2 with 2020 titles

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Credit: Stephane Azemard/NASCAR Whelen Euro Series

To say the least, Alon Day is pretty good at the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. With a fourth-place finish in the 2020 season finale at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, he clinched his third EuroNASCAR PRO championship. Meanwhile, Vittorio Ghirelli won the EuroNASCAR 2 title in a final battle with team-mate and championship rival Tobias Dauenhauer for his first championship.

It was a bizarre year, the first under the EuroNASCAR PRO name after being renamed from Elite 1, as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in numerous schedule shuffles and even an the creation of the EuroNASCAR Esports Series with real-life implications. Day finished the sim racing slate in third to earn points for his PK Carsport team in the real-life Teams Championship.

Across the five-weekend, ten-race season, Day scored four race wins at Belgium, the series’ inaugural trip to Croatia, the first weekend at Spain, and the first race of the EuroNASCAR Finals. He finished in the top five in all but one event, with the exception being a sixth in Spain 1. The wins elevated him to the top spot as the winningest driver in series history, while his now-three titles tie Ander Vilariño, who opted out of the 2020 season for family and business reasons, for the most.

“I have no words,” Day stated. “2020 was such a hard year for me when I left everything behind in Israel to live in Belgium next to the PK Carsport shop. The dedication was good enough to win the championship this year. It was such a hard time living alone with the lockdown, physically and mentally. This weekend was one of the most demanding in my life. We made it! I thank the whole team and I’m a happy boy right now and finally I’m going home.”

Credit: Stephane Azemard/NASCAR Whelen Euro Series

At the EuroNASCAR 2 (formerly Elite 2) level, Ghirelli found himself in a close fight with Hendriks Motorsport team-mate Dauenhauer, a rookie who finished runner-up in the Esports Series. After Dauenhauer took the early points lead by winning the first two races of the year, Ghirelli went on a tear in the second half as he won five of the final six races. The victories included sweeps at Croatia, the first Spain weekend, and the finale.

Ghirelli and Dauenhauer entered the final race with an eight-point margin separating them; the former had retired from the Finals’ first race with mechanical troubles, while Dauenhauer started the second on the pole. After making his way through the field, Ghirelli closed in on Dauenhauer and made the pass for the lead in turn two on lap seven. The Italian would lead for the remainder of the event to claim the win and his maiden series championship, while Dauenhauer finished forth to settle for second. The German would receive some consolation in the form of the Rookie Trophy after beating out Vladimiros Tziortzis and Julia Landauer.

“It was a very tough race but I had only one option and it was winning it,” Ghirelli said. “The car was perfect thanks to the awesome Hendriks Motorsport team. After the drama yesterday with the broken engine, I had to comeback from ninth on the grid and make it happen. We did it. Congratulations to my teammate Tobias, who is an incredibly fast race car driver. He really pushed me to the limits this year. Now I just want to celebrate this championship win.”

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Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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