Last year, NASCAR Brazil became the sanctioning body’s fourth international division with the debut of the NASCAR Brazil Sprint Race, which proved highly successful in its inaugural season.
While the U.S.-based NASCAR series prepare for their respective season openers next week at Daytona International Speedway, several NASCAR Brazil drivers will also be on hand – both at DIS to watch the on-track action and competing at nearby New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, a ½-mile asphalt oval.
MCM Racing Development, based in Houston, Texas, is fielding three drivers with experience in NASCAR Brazil in Late Model and Pro Truck races at New Smyrna during the track’s annual World Series of Asphalt, which begins on Friday.
Bringing Brazilian drivers to the states
And NASCAR itself will host a contingent of Brazilian drivers and guests at the 18 February Daytona 500 for the second consecutive season. Six of the visiting drivers will test at New Smyrna the Monday following the 500.
“We brought a total of 12 drivers to Daytona last year and then five were handpicked by our partners down there to do a private test session,” Chad Seigler, NASCAR vice president of chief international officer told Motorsport.com.
“Now we have built into our agreement that the top three finishers in the (Brazil) series points each year gets to come to Daytona and there will be another test. It’s strategic on our part but it’s also goes to, in my opinion, to justify why that Brazilian market is so strong.
“When you look at Brazil you think of two sports that are basically the national pastimes down there. One of those is soccer and the other is auto racing.”
A lack of ovals
One obstacle which needs to be traversed in the “NASCARization” of racing in Brazil, however, is the country’s current lack of oval tracks, which dominate NASCAR’s U.S.- based series.
Last season, all NASCAR Brazil races were held on road courses, except for Goiânia where one of its two rounds utilized the track’s external oval layout.
Brazilian drivers interested in long-term careers in NASCAR need to find a way to become acclimated to oval racing, which prompted NASCAR to provide its test dates but also lures drivers to a development program like the one offered at MCM Racing to get experience.
Over the next week, MCM will field three Brazilian drivers in various series at New Smyrna – 19-year-old Diogo Moscato and 45-year-old Beto Monteiro in Pro Late Models and…