By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
Compared to recent racing seasons, Myatt Snider has needed one extra piece of equipment to go from race to race, a passport.
After a lack of funding and other circumstances limited the 24-year-old to a part-time schedule in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series with ThorSport Racing, Snider landed a full-time ride in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Elite 2 Division with Racing Engineering.
Four races into the Whelen Euro Series season, Snider has three top-10 finishes in the No. 48 Ford Mustang, including a runner-up finish at Franciacorta. He is tied for sixth in the championship points standings with fellow Rookie Trophy contender Naveh Talor of Israel.
“The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series has been pretty cool,” Snider admitted. “Honestly, not many opportunities like this come around. You get to go to these cool destinations like Spain and Italy. We’re going to the United Kingdom next. It’s unprecedented.
“I really enjoy it and the racing is pretty good too. Of course, as a racer, I always want to voice my opinions of what I can change, but it’s still pretty cool to get to go and do something like this. I’m having a lot of fun with it.”
However, Snider’s foray into NASCAR’s European Series has not been smooth sailing. In his first race, he tangled with fellow American Andre Castro as the duo battled for the lead in the final corner. Snider ended up 23rd with Castro 24th.
Snider has encountered a different racing philosophy despite a similar racing discipline. With the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series governed by the FIA, avoidable contact and track limits are rules not common in the American counterpart.
“The track limits, that’s another story,” Snider commented. “If we all can use all of the racetrack, then obviously we are all going to do it, so I don’t see a problem with it.
“Avoidable contact, that’s a different philosophy. That’s how they do things over in Europe, and it’s a part of being governed by the FIA. I think that’s a part of it and I’ve got to get used to it.”
One reason for the different philosophy is that very few teams, if any, have back-up cars. One example was the fact that Snider’s teammate in Elite 2, Eric Clement, did not start Round 3 at Franciacorta after the No. 88 Ford Mustang was damaged in the Elite 1 race earlier in the day.
Snider did point out one downside to sharing a car with others every race weekend.
“The only time it gets annoying is when some bad luck happens to the other guy. The first race at Valencia I didn’t have any problems because the other driver won both of his races.”
In the same race, Ander Vilarino was involved in a first lap accident and later retired from the race due to mechanical issues. That put Snider’s team behind heading into their first race of the weekend. Racing Engineering overcame the odds as the Charlotte, NC native finished second.
“In the race at Franciacorta in Italy somebody wrecked him, and he had a mechanical failure,” Snider continued. “It’s kind of obnoxious when that happens because it’s a scramble to get the car ready. That’s just a part of it. I did an IMSA race earlier this year and got used to the idea of sharing a car with someone. It’s different.”
The next scheduled race for Snider is June 1, at the historic Brands Hatch Indy Circuit. Later this season, he will also get the opportunity to compete at the history Hockenheimring in Germany and Circuit Zolder in Belgium, as well as Autodrom Most in the Czech Republic, and the only oval on the Euro Series schedule, Raceway Venray in the Netherlands.
“I get to go to places like Hockenheim, Brands Hatch, Valencia, all of these cool places that I dreamed about as a kid,” Snider explained. “It’s a dream come true.”