Anthony Kumpen will make his debut on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway in what will be the fourth start of his NASCAR Xfinity Series career.
The 36-year-old Belgian racer and 2014 NASCAR Euro champion has a notable resume outside of stock car racing, which includes wins in the Spa 24/Zolder 24Hrs, and starts in both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Daytona. More recently, he's raced with the Phoenix Racing Audi squad in the Blancpain Endurance and Sprint Series.
Kumpen will pilot the No. 46 LeasePlan Chevrolet Camaro in his Daytona debut with Precision Performance Motorsports.
He will be the first European to race at the famed oval since Dario Franchitti in 2008 and the first Belgium national since Christine Beckers took part in the July NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 1977.
Daytona debut a dream come true
“We worked all year to get the approval to do Daytona and it is fantastic to finally be able to race there. To race at Daytona is a dream for every NASCAR driver out, it is a very special track and for a European NASCAR driver it is even more special. I’m proud and happy that we can be there,” said Kumpen in a release.
“It all started thanks to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and I am grateful for this. I want to thank everybody involved from sponsors to NASCAR. I am the first NWES driver to go to Daytona and I hope this will be an inspiration for young drivers to join the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series”
He made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut last year at Iowa (finishing 28th) as part of the Nexteer Road To Daytona program – a program designed by Nexteer and NASCAR to help aspiring European stock car racers to get a foothold in the states. In two additional starts at Phoenix and Homestead, Kumpen finished 24th and 27th.
Plans for the remainder of 2016
The Hasselt native will continue to compete on a fulltime basis on the Euro circuit in search of his second championship, but would also like to add more Xfinity races to his 2016 schedule.
“We will field two cars again and we want to focus on the championship. In our first season we won all the titles, but in 2015 we didn’t get the results we expected. It is important to win the Euro NASCAR title also to receive the support to go to the US, so we want the title back.
“We want to do more races in NASCAR XFINITY Series, but we are thinking about the road courses in the summer. First thing first, we want to start the European campaign in the best possible way.”
Kumpen is also the cousin of Sophie Kumpen, the mother of rising Formula 1 star Max Verstappen.