The first ever Swede to step on the top step of the podium
Alexander Graff became the 24th driver in NASCAR Whelen Euro Series history to win a EuroNASCAR PRO race. The Swede scored his maiden win in a frantic race at the historic Brands Hatch Indy Circuit and also earned the Speedhouse team the first ever visit to Victory Lane. In addition, the 35-year-old is the first Swede to make it to the top step of the podium. In the championship picture, Alon Day and Gianmarco Ercoli crashed at Graham Hill Bend for the benefit of Nicolo Rocca, who retook the points lead.
It was Day in the #24 PK Carsport Chevrolet who led the race in the early stages ahead of Ercoli. While the Israeli opened a comfortable gap up front, Ercoli defended his second place against Graff at the wheel of his #64 Speedhouse Chevrolet. On lap 8, the safety car was deployed due to a crash by Aliyyah Koloc on the start-finish straight. The restart on lap 17 became the deciding factor of the race.
Ercoli had a great launch in Paddock Hill Bend as the Italian pipped Day and got ahead of the Israeli at Druids. The PK Carsport driver on the other hand tried everything to get back into the lead and pushed to stay alongside Ercoli. Day bumped into the back of Ercoli ahead of Graham Hill Bend and sent Ercoli wide, while the three-time Champion took over the lead. Ercoli’s car took significant damage and fell down the order.
The Italian then tangled with Thomas Krasonis at Clearways, triggering the second safety car period of the day. Day led the field to the restart on lap 26 ahead of Graff and Maggi but seven laps later the Ashdod native turned his car into the pits to serve a drive through penalty he was given by race control for the contact with Ercoli. Graff inherited the lead but was put under pressure by Maggi in second.
The Swede fended off all the attacks brought by the Race Art Technology driver scoring his maiden EuroNASCAR PRO win and the first ever victory for Speedhouse. While Graff logged the first ever win for a Swedish driver, Maggi crossed the finish line in a strong second place. The Swiss also took honors in the Junior Trophy for drivers aged 25 and under.
“Nice day at the office! First ever win for Speedhouse, I like to thank all the girls and guys in the team, they have done an amazing job to put me on P1! It’s a historic day also, I took the first Swedish victory in EuroNASCAR PRO so that’s nice, finally!” said an ecstatic Graff on the Victory Lane.
“I thought I could make a move when Alon and Ercoli had a collision but I didn’t know where they’re gonna go so I stayed behind a little bit and then in the restart you’re just trying to survive because you’re on the outside, you don’t know what to happen and what to expect. Maggi did an amazing job behind me trying to overtake me, he put me under pressure!” further explains the Swedish driver, who reckons that he had the pace to beat Day and Ercoli today.
Reigning EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Martin Doubek completed the overall podium in third and took the win in the Challenger Trophy for bronze and silver drivers in EuroNASCAR PRO. He was followed by Valencia race winner Nicolo Rocca and NWES veteran Frederic Gabillon, who rounded out the top-5. Liam Hezemans grabbed second place in the Junior Trophy by finishing in a strong sixth place in what was only his second EuroNASCAR PRO race.
By finishing in a career-best seventh place, Davide Dallara was second in the Challenger Trophy classification ahead of Patrick Lemarie, Romain Iannetta and 2020 EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Vittorio Ghirelli. Fabrizio Armetta claimed the final Challenger Trophy podium spot after he finished in 11th place, capping off a strong weekend for the The Club Motorsport driver. After serving his penalty, Day finished the race in 16th while Ercoli was classified in 26th after the collision with Krasonis and subsequent visit to the pits.
Rocca will reclaim the lead in the championship at the conclusion of the American Speedfest as he opens up a gap of 8 points to Alon Day. Martin Doubek, Frederic Gabillon, and Alexander Graff all occupied third place with 121 points, 21 behind Rocca.
The EuroNASCAR PRO will be back in action in Vallelunga, Italy, on July 9-10, but the EuroNASCAR 2 will close another successful edition of the American SpeedFest at Brands Hatch. The last race will be broadcast live on 5:00 pm CEST (4:00 pm local time) on EuroNASCAR.com, the NWES YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and plenty of TV services from around the world.