By Joseph Wolkin
After disappointing his team by finishing runner-up in the 2014 championship battle, Ander Vilarino entered this season with a fresh outlook. The 2012 and 2013 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion had been looking to win three straight titles a year ago, but Anthony Kumpen’s rise left Vilarino with the second-place trophy.
Redeeming himself, Vilarino earned his third stock car championship in 2015. Winning at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Brands Hatch Circuit and Tours Speedway, the No. 2 team was on top of its game throughout the schedule.
However, late in the going Alon Day stepped up his game. The rookie driver won three races in September and October to close the point gap on Vilarino. But it was not enough to beat the man who finished in the top 10 in each race as consistency was the hallmark of the No. 2 team’s season, putting Vilarino on top when the final checkered was flag waved.
CHEEVER III TRIUMPHS
For Eddie Cheever III, son of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., the pressure has always been on his shoulders. The Italian driver has been racing throughout Europe for the majority of his young career.
In April, he made the most of an opportunity to compete full time in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. In his just second year of stock car racing, Cheever ended the season fifth in points. But more importantly, he earned his fourth career victory by edging Vilarino to win at Spain’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo during late April.
The victory led to an opportunity for Cheever to race in the K&N Pro Series East. He finished 15th at New York’s Watkins Glen International road course while driving for Bill McAnally Racing.
NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in Review
Champion: Ander Vilarino
Top Newcomer: Alon Day
Best Race: The season-opener at Circuit Ricardo Tormo
Top Moment: Anthony Kumpen winning his only race of the year at Raceway Venray.