New Smyrna Speedway: Loris Hezemans impresses at his US debut
Loris Hezemans drew attention to himself in the Pro Late Model Division during the Speedweeks at the New Smyrna Speedway right before the Daytona 500.
Speedweeks at the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida are an integral part of the start into the new racing season in the United States. The World Series of Asphalt takes place annually on the half-mile oval, which is located near the Daytona Beach.
NASCAR Whelen Euro Series driver Loris Hezemans made his US racing debut this month at New Smyrna and was fast right from the beginning.
The Dutch rider made his NASCAR Euro Series debut last year and finished fourth overall in the ELITE 1 Division. He also won the Junior Trophy, which is why he was guaranteed a race in the US. Hezemans drove a late model owned by former NASCAR Truck Series champion Mike Skinner at New Smyrna and convinced from the beginning.
The 21-year-old scored a pair of third-place finish in seven races.
Hezemans was successful in the Pro Late Model Divisionas he scored three top-five and six top-10 results during the week to collect the most successful performance by a European driver during Speedweeks. In the end, he was ranked third overall in the World Series of Asphalt - a respectable achievement because many American late model pros were also fighting for victory.
“Speedweeks has been an amazing experience for me, I have learned a tremendous amount as well as proven that a European driver can be successful in the US,” said Hezemans. “I would like thank Mike, Dustin and Jamie Skinner as well as the whole ATF & Gunslinger crew who have been simply great all week! And of course NASCAR and the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for providing such competitive series in the US and in Europe. Racing NWES prepared me perfectly for the environment, the procedures and the rules I found here, greatly speeding up my adaptation to Pro Late Model racing.
"I could hold onto the lead for about 8 laps until the No. 81 (car) came flying as he had really saved his tires very well, while I used them a little too much to come back to the front. I tried to defend second but the tires were too far gone. The final third place is still a great result, I am really happy with it.
“We are looking to fight for the NWES Championship and win it! I think I can take a huge amount of experience and knowledge back home for our NWES oval race in Venray as well as hopefully open up possibilities to further race in the US and continue developing career in NASCAR.”
The 2019 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season will kick off in Valencia, Spain on April 13-14 at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo with the traditional Valencia NASCAR Fest.
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