Liam Hezemans Triumphs in EuroNASCAR After Surviving Major Crash

Liam Hezemans overcomes a massive crash and navigates past Vittorio Ghirelli to secure a win in the 2024 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series opener, asserting his prowess and resilience under pressure.

Liam Hezemans Triumphs in EuroNASCAR After Surviving Major Crash

The 2024 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series began with high-stakes drama and an exhilarating turn of events at the season opener. Despite the challenging conditions, Liam Hezemans emerged victorious, sweeping the Sunday race for Hendriks Motorsport at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Saturday’s race posed significant challenges for Hezemans, but he rebounded impressively. By lap 7, he skillfully overtook Vittorio Ghirelli, seizing control of the race. This marked his first victory since the previous year’s race at the same venue, underscoring his strong affinity with the 4.005-kilometer track in Valencia.

The race was initially disrupted by a significant collision involving ten cars, which led to a red flag. The incident, dubbed “The Big One,” mirrored the notorious Talladega crashes and saw drivers like Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, Martin Doubek, and others retire early due to damage. Despite the chaos, all drivers involved were able to exit their vehicles unaided, highlighting the safety measures of the EuroNASCAR cars.

Ryan Vargas humorously remarked on the incident, likening it to the chaos of a Talladega race. "For a moment, it felt like Talladega—the cars were scattering in all directions, and I was bouncing around in the middle," Vargas recalled. Despite the setback, he was able to continue in a significantly modified version of his car.

When racing resumed, Ghirelli initially held the lead despite his car suffering damage in the earlier melee. Hezemans, however, capitalized on this, overtaking Ghirelli in the thrilling seventh lap. He not only clinched the race but also topped the Junior Trophy classification for drivers under 25.

Post-race, Hezemans praised his team’s efforts and the adjustments made to the car, which proved pivotal in his victory. "The team did an incredible job, and the car was just perfect today," he said, already looking forward to the next challenge at Vallelunga.

Behind Hezemans, the race concluded with notable performances from seasoned drivers and newcomers alike. Tobias Dauenhauer finished third, and veteran Lucas Lasserre managed to avoid the early trouble, finishing fourth after a subsequent penalty adjustment for Paul Jouffreau moved Marc Goossens up the order.

The race at Vallelunga promises continued excitement, with the next round of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series set for May 18-19. The Autodromo di Vallelunga will host this pivotal event, with all actions available live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel and various international broadcasts, ensuring fans won’t miss a moment of the thrilling competition.