Last year marked a significant milestone for NASCAR as it expanded its international reach with the introduction of NASCAR Brazil, marking the organization’s fourth international division. The inaugural season of NASCAR Brazil Sprint Race proved to be immensely successful, setting a promising precedent for the future.
As the U.S.-based NASCAR series gear up for their respective season openers at Daytona International Speedway next week, attention also turns to several NASCAR Brazil drivers who will be present.
These drivers will not only be at Daytona International Speedway to witness the on-track action but will also be competing at the nearby New Smyrna Speedway, a ½-mile asphalt oval located in Florida.
MCM Racing Development, situated in Houston, Texas, is actively involved in fielding three drivers with prior experience in NASCAR Brazil for the Late Model and Pro Truck races at New Smyrna. This participation is part of the track’s annual World Series of Asphalt, which commences this Friday.
Facilitating the exchange of talent, NASCAR will host a group of Brazilian drivers and guests at the Daytona 500 on February 18 for the second consecutive year. Following the event, six of these drivers will undergo testing at New Smyrna the subsequent Monday.
Chad Seigler, NASCAR’s Vice President of Chief International Officer, highlighted the strategic importance of this initiative. He emphasized that the top three finishers in the Brazilian series points each year are granted the opportunity to participate in Daytona, including testing sessions.
This endeavor not only serves strategic purposes but also underscores the robustness of the Brazilian motorsport market.
However, one challenge in the integration of NASCAR into Brazilian racing culture is the current scarcity of oval tracks in the country.
Unlike the U.S.-based series, which predominantly features oval tracks, last season’s NASCAR Brazil races were primarily held on road courses, with only one round utilizing an oval layout in Goiânia.
To address this disparity, NASCAR is actively involved in providing test dates while also enticing drivers to participate in development programs such as the one offered by MCM Racing. This week, MCM will field three Brazilian drivers across various series at New Smyrna, including Diogo Moscato, Beto Monteiro, and Felipinho Tozzo.
Monteiro, a seasoned driver with prior experience in the NASCAR K&N series, expressed his enthusiasm for returning to oval circuits after competing in NASCAR Brazil last year.
Moscato, recipient of NASCAR Brazil’s Rookie of the Year honors, has already ventured into oval racing, securing an eighth-place finish in December’s Modifieds of Mayhem event. Meanwhile, Tozzo, with a background in karting and Copa Truck in Brazil, is set to make his oval racing debut at New Smyrna.
Beyond the recent establishment of NASCAR Brazil, there have been longstanding Brazilian connections to NASCAR. Notable figures like Christian Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet Jr., and Miguel Paludo have made significant contributions to NASCAR racing, further fueling the interest among Brazilian drivers to partake in NASCAR’s U.S.-based competitions.
Reflecting on the burgeoning interest from Brazilian drivers, Seigler remarked on the positive trajectory observed within just the first year of NASCAR Brazil’s inception. He noted that the level of enthusiasm and engagement has surpassed initial expectations, signaling a promising outlook for the future of NASCAR’s international expansion.