Linster Showcases Talents as ‘EuroNASCAR Ambassador’

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – European NASCAR driver Gil Linster showcased his talent as a driver and ambassador of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series (EuroNASCAR) in the ARCA Menards Series Hard Rock Bet 200 at Daytona Int’l Speedway.

Gil linster showcased the talent potential of the euronascar series in the arca menards series season opener at daytona international speedway.
Gil Linster (Right). (Photo by Daylon Barr Photography, courtesy of EuroNASCAR)

The opportunity to compete at ‘The World Center of Racing’ is a privilege. That chance in ARCA competition allows drivers of all walks of life to compete. The series is a mix of regulars, veterans, businessmen, and thrill seekers. For Linster, he brings his road course prowess to one of the most historic oval tracks in the world.

“For me, it’s everything,” Gil Linster explained. “I’m living my dream like I put so much effort and all the people around me to help making that that deal possible. Today we made it possible with P7 in qualifying. I think that was a pretty good result for us. So yeah, just living the dream, right?” 

Prior to the Hard Rock Bet 200, Linster had just 10 laps of experience in the draft. Some of that came in practice with some in the pre-season test at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Drafting on a superspeedway is a completely different philosophy compared to the style of slipstream drafting sometimes seen on road courses. The sheer scale of the 66-year-old speedway blew Linster away.

“It’s still a big oval,” Linster said. “I think it’s new, it’s a complete other style to drive. I’m mostly used to the road courses, but it’s just an amazing place. I was here in January to get the license and it was just my blowing my mind really. It’s just that the track is amazing. The speed is amazing. I had about 10 laps in the draft, and the draft is again something completely new for me.”

Gil linster showcased the talent potential of the euronascar series in the arca menards series season opener at daytona international speedway.
Gil Linster (68). (Photo by Daylon Barr Photography, courtesy of EuroNASCAR)

Despite the limited experience pre-race, Linster showcased his talents in Kimmel Racing’s No. 68 Ford throughout the race. He had a spectacular save on the transition of the apron and banking, similar to Kyle Busch in the Busch Clash years ago. Somehow Linster avoided the field sweeping accidents on lap four and on the final lap of the race to finish seventh in his ARCA debut.

“That was amazing!” expressed Linster after an eventful race in which he masterfully dodged several big crashes. “I had a feeling that I was going to be involved in almost every single crash, there were cars passing left and right and I was lucky in some of them.

“Coming to the last lap I was 16th, I was just going for the move on the third line. Then the next big crash just came flying into me and I was so lucky to get through it. I ended up with a seventh-place finish, which is an amazing result, and it was just an amazing experience!”

“For sure this will be a big boost for myself and for the partners, who all can’t wait to see what I can do. My partners at HOOSH told me that we will give you a little bit more budget with a top-20 finish so now I’m in a good position! We have a top-10, and I can’t wait to talk to the guys and earn that big boost for the EuroNASCAR season.”

In addition to the pre-season testing, Linster prepped for the 200-mile race with work on simulators including iRacing. However, that isn’t where the Luxembourger’s homework ended. Determined to be fully prepared, Linster researched his competition to get an understanding of just what to expect from the drivers that would be on track around him.

“I did a ton of simulator like I said,” Linster recalled. “Hours and hours on the simulator, but I did also a lot of homework on other drivers. I wanted to understand who will be in the field, where do they come from, what do they do, checked everyone, what the races (were) like just to see, who works with whom? Like the big teams. What do they do? And that was I think I did even more work on the other drivers to understand the drivers seeing a little bit.” 

Gil linster showcased the talent potential of the euronascar series in the arca menards series season opener at daytona international speedway.
Gil Linster. (Photo by Daylon Barr Photography, courtesy of EuroNASCAR)

Daytona was, ultimately, everything that Linster had dreamed of and more. He’s seen the track in movies, like Days of Thunder, and in videos of past races, but there was nothing like seeing and competing on track in person.

“It’s more than you can dream about Daytona, you can you have it in the movies, you have it on the videos,” explained Linster as he beamed with emotion. “I was here last year, my first time for the Daytona 500, and I knew last year already, one day you will make it. I don’t know how, I don’t know who, or what will make it possible, but it worked out this year.” 

That dream came with a sizable cost. Specifically, Linster’s daily driver, a Mercedes C63 AMG. The European sold his personal car to fund his entry in the ARCA race. It wasn’t the first time a driver had sold their car to have enough money to compete as Stephen Mallozzi did so last season. However, it shows the lengths that Linster, and any driver, would go to in the hopes of being able to compete at Daytona.

“I’m living the dream. I’m putting 200% into it.” Linster said. “This time was it like ‘do I sell my private car?’ And, you know, if you have the idea to sell your private car to make a race, there is no one who will say that’s a good idea. Everyone said no, don’t do that. There’s so many. We wait and we want to find a solution. But I know that now is the right time. And yeah, I sold my private car to make that race and live the dream.” 

In four full seasons competing in EuroNASCAR 2, Linster has one victory, the first race of the Circuit Zolder race weekend in Belgium. In 54 starts the veteran racer has 19 top-five finishes, three on the podium. Linster will return to Europe to compete full-time in EuroNASCAR once again.

“I think that’s my work I choose for myself to really push EuroNASCAR in America because I think NASCAR is playing so many marketing cards and the European card is missing right now,” Linster observed. “They need someone to just jump on and give the push and I want to be the one I do everything to be the one and at one point I think NASCAR cannot go around me and help me to push it and get me into that big, big NASCAR world in America. 

“Full season in Europe this year, we (will) fight for the championship. I ended up third last year. This year we fight for the championship, prepare with some partners, already some more races here in America and ARCA series, and then hopefully I will be here next year full-time to also then be the ambassador for Euro NASCAR here and building that even stronger between Europe and America.”

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