Cheever wins in NASCAR Whelen Euro season opener
Valencia, Spain the site of fourth career win.
Eddie Cheever III (#51 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS, in photo from 2014 season) picked up from where he left in last year’s finals and won the 2015 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season opener in Valencia, Spain edging two-time champion Ander Vilarino (#2 TFT-Banco Santander Chevrolet SS) and pole sitter Nicolò Rocca (#56 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) in a tight finish. This is Cheever’s fourth career win.
“Winning has always a special taste and I’m very excited to start the season with a win. The team was incredible and the car perfect,” said the winner. “When I saw Vilarino behind me I pushed even harder to keep him at bay. Tomorrow I’ll try to do the same: winning is the only plan.”
Borja Garcia (#1 Active Racing Competition Ford Mustang) battled hard in his home race and came in fourth. Defending champion Anthony Kumpen (#24 PK Carsport Chevrolet SS) lost several positions at the start and fall to the 18th place, but put on a great comeback to end up 5th under the checkered flag after passing Domenico Schiattarella (#6 MRT by Nocentini Chevrolet Camaro) with three laps to go.
A frantic start brought immediately out the safety car to recover the cars of Luke Wright’s (#77 DF-1 Racing Team Chevrolet SS) and Simone Monforte (#88 Euro Kart Racing Chevrolet Camaro). Cheever took advantage of the double file restart on lap 3 to take the first place from Rocca and lead all the last 13 laps of the race. It wasn’t easy though, because initially Rocca put pressure on him before surrendering to a charging Vilarino. The Spaniard had the better hand first on Garcia and then on Rocca, but couldn’t make a move on Cheever, ending up second by seven tenths of a second for his 30th career top-5.
Florian Renauer (#5 Dexwet Renauer Team Ford Mustang) and Philipp Lietz (#67 GDL Racing Ford Mustang) were seventh and eight. 23-year-old newcomer Alon Day (#54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet SS) crossed the finish line fifth, but was penalized for a contact in the first lap and was classified ninth. Hugo Bec (#8 RDV Compétition Ford Mustang) completed the top-10.
Cheever also led the Junior “Jerome Sarran” Trophy on Rocca, while the Challenger Trophy Classification was won by Roberto Benedetti (#9 Double-T by DAV Racing Chevrolet Camaro) thanks to his 11th place, just in front of Trophy rival Erick De Doncker (#78 Insulco Motorsport 98).
NASCAR Whelen Euro