BRANDS HATCH, England – After scoring the pole Saturday morning, Eddie Cheever IIIled all the laps of a hard-fought ELITE 1 Saturday race, earning his first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series win, the lead in the championship standings and the first victory for an Italian driver in a NASCAR sanctioned race.
“It’s an incredible weekend for us,” Cheever said. “We didn’t practice yesterday and this morning we made the pole. It was an hard race, but we won it and I couldn’t be happier.”
The 21-year old CAAL Racing driver, son of former Formula One driver Eddie Cheever, who celebrated his birthday on Thursday, smartly defended his lead from the attacks brought by Frederic Gabillon and Ander Vilarino in a race that showcased how close is the competition in the European NASCAR series in perfect short-track style. Seven cars raced in the leading group and exciting door-to-door battles characterized the 25-minute race.
Gabillon and Vilarino tried to take advantage of two double file restarts – the last one coming with just two minutes to go after Romain Thievin ended up in the barriers on the way down from Druids – but they ended up second and third when the yellow flags waved again due to a contact between Freddy Nordström and Simone Monforte and the race ended behind the safety car.
Vilarino had just passed Gabillon for the second place, but the results were set per rulebook on the last green flag lap, giving second back to Gabillon.
Anthony Kumpen started seventh and drove his way up to fourth, just ahead of Borja Garcia in fifth.
Cheever won the Jerome Sarran Trophy classification ahead of Rocca and Victor Guerin. The Challenger Trophy classification went to Fabrizio Armetta.