By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
B.J. McLeod Motorsports has tabbed NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Elite 1 driver Loris Hezemans for Road America.
Hezemans will drive the No. 99 Koolbox Chevrolet Camaro SS in the NASCAR Xfinity Series CTECH Manufacturing 180 at the 4.048-mile road course.
The Eindhoven, Netherlands native is in just his second NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Elite 1 season. In 21 starts, Hezemans has earned three victories, including the last two events. The Hendriks Motorsport driver sits fourth in the championship standings, 36-points behind defending champion Alon Day.
“We got in touch with Carlos Lira, who used to field cars both in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series and in the ARCA Racing Series,” Hezemans explained. “He was positively impressed by my results and helped getting in touch with BJ McLeod Motorsports. We were looking for a chance to debut in the Xfinity Series on a road course and Road America is the perfect fit. I’m really looking forward to go side-by-side with the best NASCAR drivers in the United States.”
In addition to his three victories, Hezemans also has 10 podium finishes and one pole position in the No. 50 Ford Mustang.
Prior to his transition to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, the Dutchman competed in the Blancpain GT Series, ADAC GT Masters, and the Audi Sport TT Cup among other European touring car series.
The 22-year-old explained how NASCAR has expanded his opportunities in motorsports.
“Choosing the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series was a fundamental step in my career. NWES provided me with many opportunities and it’s laying the foundations for NASCAR Europe, especially for drivers like me, coming from Europe and not really knowing a lot about NASCAR at the beginning.
“To be already able to go compete at the NASCAR Xfinity Series level in just one year and a half is incredible. NWES is really showing it is able to bring in people from all over the world and show them what NASCAR is all about.”
The second year NWES driver joins Day and Anthony Kumpen as full-time NWES competitors who have ‘crossed the pond’ and compete in NASCAR’s National Series. Jacques Villeneuve and Marc Goossens made starts in NASCAR’s National Series before they competed in NWES.
“Another NWES driver making his debut in a NASCAR national series is the heart of our mission to build a complete path to NASCAR in the US for drivers coming from all over the world,” declared NWES President – CEO Jerome Galpin. “From our NWES Racing School through the NWES ELITE 2 and ELITE 1 Divisions, we prepare drivers step by step and offer true career opportunities at affordable budgets.
“Loris is a young and very talented driver coming from a great racing family. It will be very interesting to see how he will perform in correlation to the performance of the package he will have in his hands!”
Jennifer Jo Cobb, Bobby Labonte, Ben Kennedy, and Myatt Snider all have competed full-time in NASCAR’s National Series before the competed in NWES.
In four years of competition, B.J. McLeod Motorsports has earned one top-five and three top-10 finishes, all on superspeedways. The organization’s best finish on a road course, 12th, came at Road America in 2017 with Josh Bilicki behind the wheel.
Hezemans is keeping his expectations tempered, and hopes for some rain to use his road racing background to his advantage.
“It’s not going to be easy for sure and I’m not setting specific goals. We know that with the package we have a top-15 finish would be a very good result and that with some luck on our side a top-10 fantastic.
“A little bit of rain would definitely spice things up. I’m watching and analyzing carefully many Road America race to be prepared for different situations, and I’m driving on the simulator to get familiar with the track. I can’t wait to hit the track!”