Bad luck for Ulysse Delsaux in very promising Nascar K&N Pro Series Debut
Bad luck took a hit at Ulysse Delsaux in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut at New Smyrna Speedway, but the 18-year-old driver from Troyes, France made a very positive impression, posting fast lap times and showing a strong pace at the wheel of the #46 Nexteer Automotive Toyota Camry fielded by Precision Performance Motorsports in what was just his fourth ever oval race.
Delsaux, who was diagnosed with the Asperger Syndrome and lives his passion for racing as a way to overcome his condition, entered the Jet Tools 150 thanks to the Nexteer Road To Daytona – the program built by NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and Nexteer Automotive to bring European drivers to race in NASCAR in the United States – and found immediately at ease in his first laps ever in the # 46 Toyota Camry in a test session on Saturday.
On Sunday, in what was just his second day in the car and facing an incredibly strong field of rising talents with far more oval experience, Delsaux made great strides and posted the tenth fastest time in the final practice session, lapping just one and a half tenth from the leader. He then lapped just 0.06 seconds from his best time in qualifying, earning the 19th spot on the grid, just .316 seconds behind pole sitter Todd Gilliland in a session that saw a new track record and 25 drivers separated by less than a half second.
After a promising start, a crash on lap 50 ruined Delsaux’s chances to reach a good result, but the Frenchman didn’t lose his fighting spirit and went on posting fast lap times, delivering some good overtakes, avoiding two crashes in front of him and gaining precious experience to finish 28th under the checkered flag.
“It is a shame for the accident and I’m very disappointed not to be able to get a result that matches our speed, but I’m really happy about this wonderful experience and the incredible work we did with the team. It was just my second day in this car and we did very good things. I felt fast and secure in the car and we showed we can be fast,” said Delsaux after the race. “We worked very well all weekend long and I want to thank the Nascar Whelen Euro Series and Nexteer Automotive for this amazing opportunity. I hope there will be more soon!”
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season opener was won by Todd Gilliland, who already won in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West debut last year at Phoenix International Raceway.
Delsaux will now head back to Europe to resume preparation for a 2016 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season that will represent a big step in his career, since he will move to the ELITE 1 Division with the RDV Compétition team, aiming at a place in the top-10.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season will begin at Valencia, Spain on April 23-24 with the third edition of the Valencia NASCAR Fest.