Stienes Longin: Maiden EuroNASCAR win on an oval
In 2015, NWES veteran Stienes Longin celebrated in Victory Lane for the first time – The Belgian scored his first win on an oval
Stienes Longin entered the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (NWES) in the 2014 season and immediately caused a sensation. While his father Bert Longin competed in the ELITE 1 championship (now EuroNASCAR PRO), the youngster tried his hand in the ELITE 2 category (now EuroNASCAR 2) at the time. In his eleventh race, he beat the competition to turn into Victory Lane for the first time – at Tours Speedway in France.
The 600-meter short track with up to nine degrees of banking was the home of his debut in the 2014 NWES season, and Longin showed from the very beginning that he can handle left-hand turns very well despite his lack of oval experience. In his first two ELITE 2 races, the Belgian finished fourth and second at the time. This was followed at the Nurburgring by ninth and fifth places on a genuine road course.
The first full season
The 2015 NWES season then marked his first full-time campaign in Europe’s official NASCAR championship, which is why Longin competed for the Rookie Cup (now Rookie Trophy). In the first three events at Valencia, Brands Hatch and Venray – the second oval on the calendar – the PK Carsport driver regularly finished inside the top 10. In Great Britain, he missed out on his first victory with a second-place finish, but it wasn’t long in coming.
At Tours Speedway, France, his time had come: Longin led 73 of the 75 laps and kept the later ELITE 2 champion Gianmarco Ercoli behind him, who put on a good amount of pressure at the wheel of his the #9 car. In the end, the Belgian in the #11 Chevrolet saw the checkered flag first, which is why he was allowed to park his car in Victory Lane for the first time in his EuroNASCAR career.
Wins in all championships
On the following day, things did not go according to plan for Longin, who was involved in an incident: He ultimately only finished in 19th place. After the race weekend at Tours Speedway, there were only road courses left on the schedule, where Longin scored three more podiums and a seventh-place finish. That was enough for the now 30-year-old to win the Rookie Cup – his rival Ercoli won the championship.
Just one year later, Longin fought his way to the top of the ELITE 2 championship. With a whopping eight wins this season, the Belgian grabbed the championship title. His victories also included another first-place finish at Tours Speedway, the venue where his terrific winning streak began, and two triumphs at the Venray oval.
After moving up to the ELITE 1 or EuroNASCAR-PRO category, respectively, it took Longin some time to get back to the top of the podium – but he knocked on the door several times. He won his home race at Circuit Zolder in Belgium in 2019. Last season, Longin contested just a single race weekend at Zolder where he added another race win to his list and it’s still up in the air whether one of the most glittering ELITE-2 champions in NWES history will return in 2022.