Melvin de Groot made his EuroNASCAR debut with Team Bleekemolen in Grobnik, Croatia – The rookie will also compete in Zolder
“It was hard work,” said Melvin de Groot after his first race in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) at Grobnik, Croatia. The Dutchman stepped in for the injured Michael Bleekemolen in the EuroNASCAR 2 championship and took the wheel of the #69 car. The Rookie and Legend Trophy driver will also compete in the next round at Circuit Zolder in Belgium.
But how did de Groot experience his first race in the official European NASCAR series? In an interview after his first race, he said: “It went well, but it was quite hot. It was an interesting race, but we had a little problem with the car, which tended to understeer. I faced that problem, but it was great fun.”
The Dutchman was particularly impressed by the start “with all the cars close together and all the noise.” That’s why his conclusion was extremely positive: “It was my first race in a EuroNASCAR car and it was a good experience. The biggest challenge was that I’d never driven this car before.”
Added to that were the difficult, changeable weather conditions. In practice on Friday, de Groot had to tame his 400-hp V8 beast right away on a wet track, while it remained dry on Saturday and Sunday in Croatia. “I had to restart again,” was the clear statement from the NWES newcomer. “That was quite difficult.”
Furthermore, it was not easy to “find the last tenths of a second” as de Groot sat in the 1,225-kilogram stockcar for the first time. The results, however, were respectable: de Groot finished seventh and eighth in his first two races. He thus secured victory twice in the Legend Trophy for drivers aged 40 and over and two second places in the Rookie Trophy for newcomers to the NWES. His second outing follows next weekend at Zolder.