Last year, NASCAR Brazil became the sanctioning body’s fourth international division with the debut of the NASCAR Brazil Sprint Race, which proved highly successful in its inaugural season.

While the US-based NASCAR series prepare for their respective season openers next week at Daytona International Speedway, several NASCAR Brazil drivers will also be on hand – both at DIS to watch the on-track action and competing at nearby New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway, a ½-mile asphalt oval.

MCM Racing Development, based in Houston, Texas, is fielding three drivers with experience in NASCAR Brazil in Late Model and Pro Truck races at New Smyrna during the track’s annual World Series of Asphalt, which begins on Friday.

Bringing Brazilian drivers to the states

And NASCAR itself will host a contingent of Brazilian drivers and guests at the 18 February Daytona 500 for the second consecutive season. Six of the visiting drivers will test at New Smyrna on Monday following the 500.

“We brought a total of 12 drivers to Daytona last year and then five were handpicked by our partners down there to do a private test session,” Chad Seigler, NASCAR vice president of chief international officer told Motorsport.com.

“Now we have built into our agreement that the top three finishers in the (Brazil) series points each year gets to come to Daytona and there will be another test. It’s strategic on our part but it’s also goes to, in my opinion, to justify why that Brazilian market is so strong.

“When you look at Brazil you think of two sports that are basically the national pastimes down there. “One of those is soccer and the other is auto racing.”

A lack of ovals

One obstacle which needs to be traversed in the “NASCARization” of racing in Brazil, however, is the country’s current lack of oval tracks, which dominate NASCAR’s US-based series.

Last season, all NASCAR Brazil races were held on road courses, except for Goiânia where one of its two rounds used the track’s external oval layout.

Brazilian drivers interested in long-term careers in NASCAR need to find a way to become acclimated to oval racing, which prompted NASCAR to provide its test dates but also lures drivers to a development program like the one offered at MCM Racing to get experience.

Over the next week, MCM will field three Brazilian drivers in various series at New Smyrna – 19-year-old Diogo Moscato and 45-year-old Beto Monteiro in Pro Late Models and 17-year-old Felipinho Tozzo in Pro Trucks.

NASCAR Brazil

Monteiro has the most experience, having previously competed in what was formerly the NASCAR K&N series (now ARCA East and West).

“It was great racing NASCAR Brazil last year,” he said. “I always wanted to get back into NASCAR cars, and I’m very happy to be able to return to the oval circuits. “I’m very grateful to NASCAR Brazil and the MCM team for this opportunity.”

Moscato, who earned NASCAR Brazil’s rookie of the year honors last year, finished eighth in December’s Modifieds of Mayhem event as part of the annual Snowball Derby in Pensacola, Fla., which was his first oval race in the US

New Smyrna will be the first oval race for Tozzo, who has already enjoyed much success in karting and Copa Truck in Brazil. His 2023 NASCAR Brazil season was his first in touring cars.

There have been Brazilian connections to NASCAR long before the creation of an official series last year.

Three Brazilian-born drivers have competed in NASCAR – Christian Fittipaldi made 15 Cup starts in 2003, Nelson Piquet Jr. started 83 races across NASCAR’s three national series and won three times and Miguel Paludo has 81 starts in Xfinity and Trucks, including three last year in Xfinity.

Seigler said he is not surprised by the increased interest of Brazilian drivers to try to speed up their appetite for NASCAR’s US-based action.

“It’s probably more about exceeding expectations and how quick we’re seeing it, right,” he said. “To see this level of interest in year one going into year two is definitely exceeded some expectations in a very positive way for us.”

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