Anthony Kumpen strong in historic Daytona debut

The Belgian ends up 7th in final practice, improves through each session

Daytona Beach, FLA - It was an historic moment for the whole NASCAR Whelen Euro Series community when Anthony Kumpen hit the track today, making him the first NASCAR European Driver to race a professional Series at the World Center of Racing. At the end of a constant progression throughout three sessions in his Daytona International Speedway debut, Anthony Kumpen posted the seventh fastest time in Final Practice at the wheel of the #46 Leaseplan Chevrolet Camaro fielded by Precision Performance Motorsports, besting many experienced competitors and confirming the level of the fast growing European Series.

... the pressure will be higher and my competitors have a lot more experience than me.

Anthony Kumpen

“To see your number so high on the scoring pylon here at Daytona is amazing. If somebody told me yesterday I wouldn't believe it. The team is doing an incredible job on the car and I am really, really happy,” said the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion, who had this unique opportunity thanks to the Nexteer Road To Daytona program, the path created by NWES and Nexteer Automotive to grant EuroNASCAR drivers the best chances to race in NASCAR in the US. “The most important thing is that every run we performed was an improvement and I am more confident in the car lap after lap. We worked well on every single detail.”

Kumpen’s road to this historic weekend – the Hasselt-native is the first ever NASCAR Whelen Euro Series driver to compete on the legendary 2.5-mile Superspeedway – begun right after he won the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series title, when he entered the Nexteer Road to Daytona program and NWES designed for him a progression that involved different series and different ovals to bring him to Daytona in the best possible conditions one year after making his Pro Late Model debut at New Smyrna and less than two after driving a NASCAR car for the first time.

The Belgian will have to qualify for the PowerShares QQQ 300 on time, but if practice was a good indicator of his possibilities, the #46 Leaseplan Chevrolet Camaro could definitely deliver a strong result.

“I think that if we do everything the perfect way, we could shoot for a place between the 15th and the 25th in qualifying, maybe a top-15, which is pretty amazing given my experience and the relative youth of the team, but at Daytona it is a matter of thousands of a second, the pressure will be higher and my competitors have a lot more experience than me. We'll see how it goes, but we are in good shape,” concluded Kumpen.

Saturday’s qualifying session will begin at 16:00 CET and will be broadcasted live on Fox Sports 1.

NASCAR Whelen Euro Series

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Drivers Anthony Kumpen
Article type Practice report