German Nascar driver Justin Kunz took his place in the Dragster for warming up the engine!
The Nascar Whelen Euro Series driver Justin Kunz and Drag Racing record holder Liam Jones met at the Hockenheimring for changing their driver seats.
What do a Top Fuel Dragster and a Nascar have in common? Both are driven by ambitious racers who want to take the lead in their respective European championships. In the course of the NitrOlympX 2019 at the Hockenheimring two of these athletes met for the “Take A Seat” campaign: Justin Kunz from Baden, currently in the top 10 of the Nascar Whelen Euro Series, class Elite 2, in the Dexwet DF1 Racingteam from Austria and Liam Jones from Great Britain, with his CBD Asylum Dragster from the top class Top Fuel of the FIA Drag Racing European Championship.
For Jones, Hockenheim is the place where he set the track record for the quarter mile and the event victory of the NitrOlympX last year. For Kunz, who lives and loves his sport under the motto
#ChaseTheNASCARstars, Hockenheim is almost a second home. Both share a passion for motorsport and the curiosity to get an insight into each other’s jobs.
Early in the morning, before qualifying for the top fuel class, the time had come: In the paddock of the Hockenheimring, the Dexwet DF1 Nascar Chevrolet and the Team CBD Asylum Dragster gave an impressive and truly American motorsport scenery, which quickly attracted the attention of the fans in the paddock. In addition, there were two drivers who were visibly excited and had never
met before. But the ice was quickly broken. Liam Jones and Justin Kunz admired each other’s cars full of curiosity and with great respect and delved into the subtleties of the technology and the engines.
Then it was finally time for “Take A Seat”: The 1.88 tall Euro-Nascar driver Justin Kunz squeezed into the long cockpit of the 10,000 hp Top Fuel Dragster and had the British regular driver Jones explain the fastest motorsport in the world to him. “So much power, the huge compressor and then no brake but parachutes for deceleration! “Justin Kunz was visibly impressed.
Afterwards Liam Jones took up his challenge and squeezed through the entry window into the
Nascar Chevrolet. Obviously a very unusual sitting position for the muscular Brit. With great curiosity he was given expert explanations on the driver’s seat by regular driver Justin Kunz. “This is all very interesting and really fun! I would like to move the car on a race track,” said Liam Jones after the “seat test”.
The two drivers had a proper chat and the mutual sympathy grew. Even so far that Liam Jones spontaneously suggested that Justin take over the cockpit during the warm up run of the Top Fuel engine. “An unbelievable sign of confidence! I didn’t expect that at all,” says Kunz. Quickly he was equipped with hearing protection and a gas mask and Liam personally filled the fuel into his PS monster. With an extreme noise level and a yellowish mist of combustion fumes, the engine was once brought to operating temperature – and that with the German Nascar driver Kunz in the cockpit. “It’s so incredible to sit in front of this huge engine when it’s running.” Kunz couldn’t get the grin out of his face when he gets out of the dragster, with the cheering on of the fans surrounding the team tent. “Liam is such a nice guy and does such a “sick” sport,” joked Justin.
Norbert Walchhofer, Motorsport Manager of the Dexwet DF1 Nascar Team, observes the action with short-term concern, but with a smiling eye: “I asked our Justin Kunz in between, whether I should convert our Nascar #99 – luckily he said no and wants to continue driving for championship points in the Nascar Whelen Euro Series, also at the semifinals from 20-22 September 2019 at Hockenheimring. But the scenery at the NitrOlympX once again shows me how popular US sports are in Europe,” says the Austrian, who didn’t miss inviting Liam Jones directly to the possibility of a Nascar test drive.
“An unusual but beautiful action, which both drivers obviously enjoyed”, said initiator Tina Gutberlet from the support team of #ChaseTheNASCARstars. “Motorsport is so diverse and both the Nascar Whelen Euro Series and the FIA Drag Racing European Championship offer racing at the highest level. Liam and Justin are excellent representatives of their sport. When the chance came to bring them together, there was not much to think about. Such a look from one motorsport scene to the other is rare, but it is a win for all.”
German Nascar driver Justin Kunz and British drag racing pro Liam Jones said goodbye to each other on this day with a hearty pat on the back and a broad grin. But the whole action around the “seat test” was such a positive experience for both teams that they will certainly continue it in the future.