A pole position and race win by Australia’s Josh Burdon in the final round of the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series wasn’t quite enough to hold onto the Open Class lead at Le Mans this weekend, 11-13 October 2013.
Contact in the previous round had depleted the 21 year old’s Championship lead to just two points heading into the finale, but he was left to watch his main rival drive away when two drivers in the final race crashed and made contact with him on re-entry, dropping him down the order and taking out second place overall.
“I’m feeling pretty empty right now, after such a strong season,” said Burdon, “we took more race wins than anyone else, equalled for most poles, and lead the Championship after every other round, and in the end we had other people’s mistakes wipe us out of taking home the overall win.”
“What doesn't kill you makes you stronger,” said Burdon, “it’s disappointing to have my shot at racing to hold onto the Championship lead pretty much taken from me, but a massive thanks to my team, you guys rocked and all the support back in Australia, you guys are amazing.”Burdon’s results speak for themselves, with arguably the strongest performance in the field, his Forza Motorsport Chevrolet SS proved so quick that it snared him the Race and Win Pole Award after his third pole position on Saturday.
“We weren’t quite on the pace during qualifying, but on a drying track, I knew that we just had to keep pushing and managed to be one of the last ones to pass the checkered flag and got pole by 4-tenths,” said Burdon, “I’m so honoured to have won the ‘Race and Win Pole Award’, it’s a true credit to the team and the vehicle that they gave me every race at every round”.
Backing up on Saturday afternoon, Burdon took his seventh race win from eleven race starts to grow his Championship lead ever so slightly.
“I am one blessed man today,” said Burdon, “it was another tough fight, but I’m so happy on come out on top and build that lead by a few more points”.With a slender lead, Burdon started the final race from fourth place on the grid, needing to only stay within a few positions of rival Anthony Gandon to clinch the Open Class title, however, a puncture from contact on lap two dashed the Championship hopes as he was forced to drive back through the field.“All I had to do in the final race was finish inside the top six to be Champion, and on lap two everything that was going to plan went horribly wrong, when two cars in front crashed into each other and one hit me while rejoining the track giving me a puncture making me pit and having to fight back to 11th.”
Burdon finished his rookie season in second place in the Open Class, 16 points away from the Championship lead, with three pole positions from seven qualifying sessions, and his seven race wins being three more than his competitors.“It’s been an unbelievable experience, and although it’s not the happiest feeling at the moment, I’m sure when I wake up tomorrow, I’ll be able to look back at what has been an amazing year, and take it all in.”