The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Circuit of the Americas on March 27 for the second-ever race at the Texas road course. A two-time EuroNASCAR champ in Loris Hezemans will use the trip to make his Cup Series debut.
The 24-year-old Dutchman has seven career starts in the national NASCAR series — six in the Xfinity Series and one in the Truck Series. He will now make his Cup Series debut while driving for Team Hezeberg, the creation of Toine Hezeberg and Ernst Berg. The trip to COTA will mark the team’s second start after Jacques Villeneuve finished 22nd in the Daytona 500.
Hezemans has achieved a considerable amount in his NASCAR Whelen Euro Series career. He has 11 wins, nine Pole Awards, and 24 podium finishes in 45 starts. He also won the championship in 2019 and 2021.
“The idea that I will be making my NASCAR Cup series debut still feels surreal, from watching many of the great Cup drivers on TV to now being able to compete in a Cup series race with them is a very humbling experience and something I am very grateful for,” Hezemans said about his first Cup Series start, transcript courtesy of EuroNASCAR.
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Hezemans Previously Tested the Gen 7 Car
There were several drivers that took part in numerous tests. Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Tyler Reddick are only some of the examples. Hezemans, however, did not have as many opportunities.
Team Hezeberg joined the Cup Series on October 9, 2021, with the official unveiling. The team confirmed that both Villeneuve and Hezemans would make starts during the 2022 season while running a part-time schedule.
The first step in this process was taking part in a Next Gen test at the Charlotte Roval. Team Hezeberg headed to Concord, N.C., with the No. 27 Ford Mustang and provided Hezemans with the opportunity to test out the stock car and run alongside some of the biggest names in the Cup Series. Now he will put this experience to the test when he heads to Circuit of the Americas.
“My main focus for the weekend will be to work as closely as possible with the team on our long run set up for the race, further it’s about applying my road course experience as best as possible whilst making sure that even the smallest mistakes are kept to a minimum,” Hezemans added. “From the Next Gen test at the Charlotte Roval in 2021 I was able to put in competitive lap times, now the big focus will be on putting everything together and trying to maximize our result”.
Hezemans Will Face a Packed Field
The trip to Circuit of the Americas will feature one of the largest fields of the 2022 Cup Series season. There will be 36 chartered entries and three open entries trying to secure the best possible spot in the starting lineup.
Along with Team Hezeberg, another new team will make its second start of the season. TMT Racing, which features Kaz Grala as the driver, will take on Circuit of the Americas after a 26th-place finish in the Daytona 500. Grala has one previous start at the Texas track, a second-place finish in the 2021 Camping World Truck Series race while driving for Young’s Motorsports.
Boris Said will round out the group of open entries while driving for Motorsports Business Management. He will climb into the No. 66 Ford Mustang for his first Cup Series start since the 2017 season. Like Grala, Said has one NASCAR start at COTA. He drove the No. 13 Toyota for Motorsports Business Management during the 2021 Xfinity Series race and finished 31st overall while Kyle Busch won.