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The PK Carsport powerhouse will be once again among the contenders for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series titles and trophies during the 2018 season. Anthony Kumpen and Stienes Longin will defend the colors of the glorious belgian team in ELITE 1, Guillaume Dumarey and Brazilian Felipe Rabello will start in ELITE 2.
The 2018 season of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series can not start fast enough for the Hasselt-based team. "Our ambitions are clear", says two-time champion Anthony Kumpen. "We want to compete for the title in each category. To achieve this we have two completely reconstructed cars. We tried small things and tested them in Zolder during the winter. The Details can make a real difference, you know."
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series has become increasingly stronger in recent years. This is also the case for 2018. "The level keeps getting higher," Kumpen says. "That's a good thing for the championship and does not change our ambitions. We can count on our experience. I want to get that ELITE 1 title back. Apparently I can only win it in even years, so I'm fine for 2018. (laughs) No, seriously now: the title is incredibly important. This year I attended Daytona as a spectator, but I prefer to be able to drive myself. And to accomplish that, I will have to become champion a third time."
However, Kumpen is not the only PK Carsport driver who starts the ELITE 1 season with high expectations.
"In the three full seasons of NASCAR I've raced so far, I've always achieved my goals", explains Stienes Longin. "I am well aware that the bar will be even higher this year. I want to score as high as possible, be on the podium as often as possible. We will see how high that will bring me, but I will not rule anything out. The level of the championship is rising again, I think it is an excellent thing. It will also ensure that we ourselves perform better. Last winter I worked hard to prepare myself physically and mentally on this season and that has already produced results. During a test day last week I immediately felt very good at the wheel of the car, I had the right speed to tackle. A good sign, already."
After a first season in ELITE 2 in 2017 in which he became vice-champion, Guillaume Dumarey would not find it uncomfortable to climb one more step of the ladder this year. "I will do everything I can to achieve that", says Dumarey. "But in ELITE 2 too, it will be tough. My new teammate Felipe Rabello ended up third in the championship last year, so he also has high ambitions. And then there are the new names for this season. No idea what those guys are worth, but I suspect that the start of the season will not be insignificant. With our experience we should be able to make the difference on those new drivers."
Dumarey has also focused on a thorough physical preparation in recent months. "I have done a lot of strength training," says the Eastern Fleming. "An excellent addition to the cardio exercises I have done for some time. Although our races last about 40 minutes, you really have to work hard on the wheel of such a car. Then you better be ready for it. I think I succeeded in that. I am already looking forward to the start of the season in Valencia."
The new addition to the PK Carsport lineup will be Felipe Rabello, who finished third in point in the ELITE 2 Division and won twice in his oval racing debut. “I learned a lot in my first season and I am feeling very confident this year, working with a great team such as PK carsport. I am very happy to be part of it,” said the Belo Horizonte native. “I believe I will be a strong contender for the title in the ELITE 2 division, but i know that it will be a tough battle because of the high level of the competition. Racing is unpredictable, but we will do our best to achieve our goals.
I really enjoy the racing and the organization of Euro NASCAR and I can’t wait to start the season.”
In addition to their ambitions for the ELITE 1, ELITE 2 and team titles, Kumpen & Co also have a side project they set their sights on. "This year, for the first time, there will be a Nations' Cup in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series", explains the Hasselt-native. "You can count on us to defend Belgian colors with verve!"
In the run-up to the start of the season in Valencia (April 14-15), PK Carsport will take a final test on the Zolder circuit on March 29th. Two days earlier, on March 27, the cars will be presented to the public in the Heinz Performance workshop in Hasselt in combination with the launch of the new webshop www.powerkit.shop, where Heinz Performance and PK Carsport bundle more than 25 years of racing and tuning experience into products for every car enthusiast. The new merchandising of the team will also be available on the webshop before the start of the season.
PK Carsport PR
Officials from MAVTV announced today that NASCAR/ARCA veteran driver Mike Wallace will join the broadcast team to help call the action for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on MAVTV in 2018. Coverage begins Saturday night, April 7 from Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn. Wallace will serve as the telecast's pit-road reporter, joining booth announcers Bob Dillner and Jim Tretow.
Wallace, who won on some of NASCAR's biggest stages, has also done his share of TV time over the years with racing broadcast stints on NBC, TNN, the NASCAR Hot Pass show on DirecTV and more.
"When the call came in for this opportunity, I got right on it," said Wallace. "I'm very excited to be ARCA's pit road reporter. The series is incredible. I'm excited to work with Bob (Dillner) and Jim (Tretow). I'm very committed to making great, compelling TV. There are so many great stories in the ARCA Series and I'm excited to cover them, from the back of the field to the front."
"I absolutely love the ARCA Series...I believe in it. I got my first start in the superspeedway world in ARCA. I got my first opportunity in Cup because of my success in ARCA. I'm excited for this opportunity and excited for ARCA. I'm glad to see what I consider better coverage all the way around. Between FOX and MAVTV, this series is going to be well covered in 2018, as it should be."
Wallace, the younger brother of Rusty Wallace and older brother of Kenny Wallace, earned his share of racing accolades over his long career, winning in every major division he's competed in, apart from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Outside of his best Cup finish of 2nd at Phoenix, Wallace has scored 20 wins total among the NASCAR Xfinity, Camping World Truck, Winston West Series, and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. His best finish in the Daytona 500 was 4th in 2007.
He won 4 times in the Xfinity Series at Dover, Milwaukee, Lucas Oil Raceway and Daytona. His 5 wins in the Camping World Trucks were at Talladega, Daytona, Homestead, Pikes Peak and Mesa Marin. Wallace was also effective on the ARCA side with 6 wins overall, including Daytona in '94. He also won 3 consecutive ARCA races at Pocono '95 - '96, and once at Talladega in '95 and Atlanta in '94.
MAVTV and ARCA jointly announced a multi-year broadcast rights agreement under which ARCA Racing Series events will be televised on MAVTV through the 2019 racing season. MAVTV aired 10 ARCA race events in 2017 and will increase that number to 12 in 2018.
Eleven of the 12 events will air live on MAVTV, including the networks first ever superspeedway telecast from Michigan International Speedway June 8.
MAVTV Motorsports Network is available on DIRECTV, Charter Spectrum, Verizon FiOS, Optimum, Suddenlink, CenturyLink Prism, Mediacom, Buckeye Broadband, fuboTV and many other cable providers across the US and Canada.
Wallace's son Matt Wallace is expected to compete in the North/South Super Late Model Challenge race that precedes the Music City 200 ARCA race at Nashville Saturday, April 7.
The latest member of the famous Gray racing family made his stock car debut on Saturday night at North Carolina’s historic Hickory Motor Speedway.
Taylor Gray, the 12-year-old son of NHRA Pro Stock racer Shane Gray, the brother of Gatornationals Pro Stock winner Tanner Gray and grandson of NHRA Funny Car race winner Johnny Gray, earned a sixth-place finish in the 50-lap limited late model feature Saturday night at Hickory driving for Lee Faulk Racing and Development.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting to finish sixth in my first race with the competition that was there,” said Gray, who had previously only raced Outlaw Karts on dirt. “I am with a great team and they know what they are doing and it really showed on Saturday night.”
After previously testing with Lee Faulk Racing and Development, the youngest Gray was ready to race on Saturday at Hickory. However, things took an unfortunate turn when he spun his No. 15G limited late model during practice early in the day, bending the rear clip in the process.
Despite the damage the team decided to prepare the car for qualifying and the race so Gray could get track time. Gray repaid the hard work by the Faulk team by qualifying sixth in the 19-car field.
Undeterred by the damage to the rear clip, Gray followed up his solid qualifying effort by racing in the top-five throughout the 50-lap limited late model feature. When the checkered flag waved Gray was scored in seventh, but later was advanced to sixth because of a disqualification to initial race winner Tyler Gregory.
“It was amazing how well the car felt even with the rear clip being bent,” said Gray. “The biggest difference between the big car and the Outlaw Karts I’ve driven before is that I need to pay a lot more attention to how the car handles so I can give proper feedback. Once I get the hang of that I think we’ll really be able to show what we can do.”
Lee Faulk Racing and Development’s Michael Faulk couldn’t help but be impressed by Gray’s result on Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway.
“Taylor has shown he is a great talent at such a young age,” said Faulk. “We look forward to a long lasting relationship with Taylor and the Gray family. This is just the beginning.”
With a sixth-place finish in his first race serving as motivation, Gray believes he’ll be finding victory lane much sooner than later.
“With the group of guys I have behind me, I expect to be in victory lane at least once or twice this year,” Gray said. “Winning is always the goal and I know we can do it.”
Lee Faulk Racing and Development PR
Maciek Dreszer will once again participate in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. This young and talented driver has signed a contract with the Italian CAAL Racing team. This way Dreszer has joined the team of the last year's winner of the European Series – Alon Day. The first round will be held in mid-April in Spanish Valencia.
Maciek Dreszer's adventure with the European NASCAR Series has started last year with racing in DF1 Racing team. In his debut season, Dreszer, despite problems with the car, has ranked third in Rookies class and seventh in Elite 2. In season 2018, Maciek will return to the series with experience, a better team, and ambitions for more.
We’ve got it! We’ve signed the contract and again I will race in NASCAR race series! I am very happy because at one hand I really like the character of these races, that is spectacular, and often with lots of contact racing, bumper to bumper. On the other hand I feel largely unsatisfied with the previous season, when not everything would go as we’ve planned, particularly when it comes to car preparation – Says Maciek Dreszer, and adds – I know that with an experienced team, that will provide me the best possible support, I can achieve much more. It's no secret that the goal is to win the European Series, and the next step is to race on American tracks. I believe that this collaboration is the much needed giant step towards accomplishing these objectives.
In Season 2018 Dreszer has signed a contract with Italian CAAL Racing group. It is a very experienced team, with history rich with successes on different racing tracks. Last year's winner of the NASCAR European Series Alon Day also raced with this team, and other drivers have also shown even, high performance throughout the whole season.
We are happy to welcome Maciek in our team, the more that he will be the first Pole to race in our colours. We've started talking about possible collaboration last year, but unfortunately we had a full set of drivers engaged for our cars. However, we have been closely observing his skill and development throughout the season, and that is why we are certain that this year together we can fight for top ranks in each race. We will meet on the track in March, so we can best prepare for first competition in Valencia – announced Luca Canneori, Team Manager CAAL Racing.
Maciek Dreszer is a 21-year-old racing driver who despite his young age has already collected a number of impressive victories. Maciek started competing when he was 16, having his debut in KIA Lotos Race. In 2014 he has won the I place in Toyota GT86 Cup on Nürburgring track, becoming the youngest winner in the history of the race. A year later, he has won BMW M235and Racing Cup and also ranked II during 24H Endurance Series, and the III place during championship in Belgium. Likewise, 2016 was also a year of success: I place on ADAC Zurich 24h Rennen - Nürburgring, II place on European championships GT4 European Series, and III place in 12-hour race in the Dutch Zandvoort. Season 2017 was the season of NASCAR series, which he finished as third in Rookies class.
NASCAR is the first world motor-sport organization established in 1947 in the United States, where it enjoys similar popularity as NBA or NHL. The races engage super-fast and powerful cars, at the same time very raw and not equipped, except for power steering, with any electronic driving assistance. Therefore, driving them is very demanding but provides unforgettable experience.
Since 2009, races are held also in Europe as NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. It is the fastest growing race series that serves competing drivers and teams as a pass for racing on American tracks. Each year, races attract over 150 thousand viewers. The European series engages V8 5.7 litre cars with over 400 horsepower, reaching over 250 km/h.
NASCAR Whelen Euro Series 2018 includes six rounds, of which the first will be held in the Spanish Valencia between April 14 and 15. Next, drivers will compete on tracks in Italy, Great Britain, and France. Semi-finals will be held in German Hockenheim, and the contest will be concluded with October final round in Belgian Zolder.
Maciek Dreszer PR
Leicht Motorsports opened the new racing season by collecting a pair of top-five finishes during Saturday’s Hickory Motor Speedway season opener.
The team owned by Eugene and Rebecca Leicht fielded entries for McCallister Precision Marketing clients Brandon Lemke and Mason Ludwig in Saturday’s 50-lap limited late model feature at the historic .333-mile asphalt oval. The race, part Hickory’s Big 10 Limited Late Model Series, saw 19 cars on hand to compete.
Lemke and Ludwig, both of whom tested at Hickory on Friday, were in the hunt throughout the day at Hickory. Lemke qualified seventh for the 50-lap feature while Ludwig, making his debut for Leicht Motorsports, qualified ninth.
The pair didn’t stay in those positions for very long. Lemke broke into the top-five by lap 15 with Ludwig hot on his heels in the sixth position. Lemke soon advanced to fourth and found himself battling Monty Cox for the third position as the laps wound down.
It took the rest of the race for Lemke to dispatch Cox, but he finally did so during a final dash to the finish and took the checkered flag in third. Ludwig was right behind them and gave Cox a run for his money, but crossed the line in fifth.
Those finishing positions were unofficial and for good reason. Track officials soon disqualified initial race winner Tyler Gregory for losing a piece of lead weight during the race. As a result of the disqualification, Lemke was credited with a runner-up finish while Ludwig earned a fourth-place result.
Lemke, who is beginning his second year with the Leicht Motorsports squad, couldn’t help but express his excitement following his strong start to the 2018 season.
“We were running fourth for most of the race just about the whole race after starting off in seventh and we were able to get third there at the end, but that became second after post-race tech,” said Lemke. “Our car was fast all day long. What a great way to start the season. Thanks to the Leicht Motorsports Development Team, MPM Marketing and Champion. It feels great to start off the season in such a positive way.”
Ludwig, who was making his debut for Leicht Motorsports on Saturday night at Hickory, was thrilled with his effort.
“A top-five is a great way to start our season with Leicht Motorsports,” said Ludwig. “We worked hard all day to make sure I had a great car for the race. We started ninth and managed to work our way through the field to finish fifth, but we ended up fourth after the DQ in inspection. We’re one happy team and I’m one happy driver. Thanks to the Leicht Motorsports Development Team, MPM Marketing and Champion for all of their support today and hopefully we can keep this momentum going.”
Team co-owner Eugene Leicht spoke highly of both of his young drivers following their top-five efforts Saturday night.
“Brandon and Mason drove excellent races. They were patient and got everything the track and their cars gave them, so I couldn’t be happier with our results,” Leicht said. “I’ve got a great team working on these cars and a great marketing team at MPM Marketing, not to mention my wife Rebecca, who I couldn’t do this without. Now we just need to go back out there and do this again. With Brandon and Mason at the wheel I don’t see that being a problem.”
Leicht Motorsports PR
The U.S. Army driver trio of Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher, Antron Brown and Leah Pritchett are fourth, third and fifth, respectively, on the provisional ladder after the opening two rounds of qualifying Friday for this weekend’s NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series 49th annual NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway.
Schumacher and his U.S. Army Dragster team for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) started the day with the best run of the opening session posting a lap of 3.785 seconds and a track record speed of 329.67 mph. In the second session, the U.S. Army Racing team was forced to wait out a lengthy delay and “The Sarge” lost traction early in the pass and coasted to a run of 7.873 seconds at 84.21 mph.
“I’d rather make the run we made in Q1 any day over a big run where you are swinging for the fences on Friday night,” said Schumacher, the eight-time Top Fuel world champion who’s vying for a record sixth career Gatornationals event title this weekend.
“Don’t get me wrong. I wish we would have went down the track (that second run) and maintained the top spot, but the run to start the day was impressive in every way. We don’t race in the conditions like we had tonight. We were set up for a run on a track well over 100 degrees and by the time we actually ran it was more like 88 or 89 degrees. It’s hard to make all the changes that you want when the difference in temperature is that drastic. We made a great run today in the heat. It was textbook and that’s what we’ll be dealing with Sunday. We’re good. I’m looking forward to getting this U.S. Army machine even better tomorrow.”
Brown and his Matco Tools/U.S. Army Dragster for DSR started the day with a run of 4.894 seconds at 150.03 mph in today’s opening session. He and his team led by crew chief Mark Oswald came back with a vengeance Friday evening making a run of 3.751 seconds at 327.24 mph that was third-best for the session and third overall.
“We didn’t start the day where we wanted to,” Brown said. “Our first run was a little rough. We spun the tires about 200 feet. It felt like the car was on a good run. We came back and made a nice solid pass down the track that will put us securely in the field. All in all, the Matco Tools/U.S. Army car is in a good place. We feel confident for tomorrow. It’s going to be another day where we can build off that second lap we made today. The name of the game is to just keep on trying to improve and continue getting better. We want to be at our best on Sunday this weekend.”
Pritchett had an up and down day aboard the Papa John’s/FireAde/U.S. Army Dragster for DSR. An opening run of 3.811 seconds at 325.77 mph placed her second overall, but a mechanical failure following the burnout prior to her second run prematurely ended her day.
“Talk about the most prime conditions and something handed to us on a silver platter, but unfortunately we weren’t able to eat off of it,” Pritchett said. “Having a clutch linkage issue during the best conditions was not what we wanted especially when we felt like we had something in there for our competition. I think what impresses me most about this team is that no matter what the issue is we overcome it as a team. Tomorrow is all about overcoming adversity. The silver lining is we made a run to start the day that can help us be better on Sunday. And we are in this for the win Sunday.”
Qualifying concludes Saturday with sessions at 12 noon and 3 p.m. EST. FS1 will air two hours of qualifying coverage at 11 p.m. Elimination rounds are set for at 11 a.m. Sunday with FS1 providing three hours of delayed coverage beginning at 7 p.m.