Dramatic First-Lap Crash at EuroNASCAR PRO: Vargas and Bleekemolen's Turbulent Recall

Discover the intense first-lap crash in the 2024 EuroNASCAR Whelen Series at Circuit Ricardo Tormo. Vargas and Bleekemolen share their firsthand experience of the event that shook the race, drawing comparisons to Talladega's notorious incidents.

Dramatic First-Lap Crash at EuroNASCAR PRO: Vargas and Bleekemolen's Turbulent Recall

The 2024 season of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series started with high tension and excitement at Spain's Circuit Ricardo Tormo. The second round of the EuroNASCAR PRO series was marked by a dramatic incident right at the beginning, causing the race to be halted.

The chaos ensued when Sebastiaan Bleekemolen inadvertently made contact with Vittorio Ghirelli, triggering a domino effect that involved ten cars and led to five being sidelined from the race. Among those caught in the fray was American NASCAR star Ryan Vargas. Despite sustaining damage to his #30 3F Racing Chevrolet, Vargas made a remarkable recovery, finishing twelfth overall and third among drivers under 25 in the Junior Trophy.

Reflecting on the event, Vargas compared the crash to the infamous "Big Ones" at Talladega, known for their spectacular and often perilous nature. "It felt like I was at Talladega," he said. "Cars were everywhere, breaking apart. I found myself dodging wreckage and somehow managed to bring home a car that resembled more of a modified racer by the end, fitting for a series backed by Whelen, similar to the Modified Tour they sponsor in the US."

Sebastiaan Bleekemolen faced severe penalties for his role in the incident. EuroNASCAR officials, citing the series' rulebook, disqualified him from the race and imposed a ten-place grid penalty for the upcoming NASCAR GP Italy at Vallelunga, highlighting the importance of safety during race starts.

Despite the dramatic start, the drivers exhibited remarkable resilience. The high safety standards of the EuroNASCAR cars were evident as all drivers involved managed to exit their vehicles unaided, despite the severe impacts. The race concluded with Liam Hezemans overcoming an early challenge to clinch the victory, adding another win to his record after his success in Valencia the previous year.

The EuroNASCAR Whelen Euro Series will continue its thrilling season at the Autodromo di Vallelunga near Rome, with races scheduled for May 18-19. Fans can look forward to live coverage of the qualifying rounds and races on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel and various international TV networks.