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United States of Brands: The American Speedfest Thunders Back to the UK

Image Credit: speedfest.co.uk

Image Credit: speedfest.co.uk

American Speedfest has never just been a race weekend; it is a no holds barred celebration of muscle, speed and extravagance drenched in American patriotism. Where can you find pageant shows, hot dog eating contests, live music and driving displays alongside mind blowing on-track action? For one weekend in June, the Kentish lands were transported stateside. America had come to the UK like never before. For the guests of Stopwatch Hospitality, they were treated to an unforgettable experience that for any motorsport fan was something truly special.

People often say that the 3rd film in a series is never as good as the originals and perhaps it needs to end. Well if anything, the American Speedfest is the exception. Having been to the Speedfest for every year of its existence, from my Stetson to my boots I can tell you that it blew the other years out the water. As the hugely popular event returned for its third year, the headline act remained the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.

There are many within the world who look at American racing with a certain degree of scepticism; isn’t it just a bunch of rednecks in cars turning left for a few hours? It can be safely said that the NASCAR Euro Series does blow that theory straight out the ballpark. From the fiery pits of hell comes the meteoric rage of the ages, the gods unleashed their chariots of fire to rain their thunderous chorus upon us all.

Stopwatch became American for the day

Stopwatch became American for the day

For guests of Stopwatch Hospitality, it was not just NASCAR racing they got to enjoy, but a full behind-the-scenes tour of the DF1 Racing garage and even the chance to chat to one of their drivers, Christian Malcharek! It is not every day that you are up close and personal with a NASCAR machine, but Stopwatch made that possible! Topped off with a fabulous glass of prosecco for everyone, even Christian’s father Jirko Malcharek, Slovakia’s only ever F1 driver, joined the chat to regale the group with his stories of F1 testing. We even posed the ultimate question to Christian – F1 or NASCAR? Without even skipping a beat the answer was NASCAR, any day of the week.

Entrance to Stopwatch also meant access to the official grid walk for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. Seeing the cars in their natural habitat with their commanders and crew alongside is something not many race fans will get to experience. The look of childish wonderment spread across the faces of all our guests; that primal passion for motorsport never fades. It’s with you for life.

When it came to the racing, the American machines did not fail to deliver. The racing was intense, action packed and exhilarating to the very end. Some of the incidents throughout the races proved the importance that safety plays in the sport. Cars had their entire body ripped off or even wrecked, rolled and ruined, yet the driver would walk away unharmed. However, if ever there was one tweet to sum up the quality of the racing, it could only be this by Stopwatch’s own writer Lewis Glynn:

“The @EuroNASCAR scriptwriters hath decreed that no car shall gap another. For if you defy me, you will suffer a SAFETY CAR”

Image Credit: Speedfest.co.uk

Image Credit: Speedfest.co.uk

The other support races included the monstrous Formula 5000 cars, who could drown out even a Slipknot concert as well as some V8 muscle cars that were just utterly beautiful to watch. A star in both these races was the Stopwatch favourite Greg Thornton, who came up and chatted with the guests. A star of all types of historic racing, Greg is by far one of the nicest most genuine people you will ever meet, who always has time for the fans. If this man was not a driver, he would be perfect for television; his to-the-point descriptions and analysis of his races made everyone feel they were in the car with him. Genuine man. Genuine talent. Genuine race driver.

But what makes the American Speedfest so special is that the racing is just one part of a fantastic jigsaw that fits together to create something which is every type of awesome. A visit from the auto-cast of Transformers and Cars were huge crowd pleasers, after all who doesn’t want to see Optimus Prime up close and personal? Combine that with iconic Hollywood car displays, an American style beauty pageant and a hot dog eating contest and there really is no reason to even go to the US. But to top it all off, crowds at the end of the day were treated to a Brands-style re-enactment of the famous scene from Back To The Future; the Doc, a chasing gang and of course the DeLorean with added pyrotechnics.

If I was honest, throughout the lead up to the event I was filled with an immovable doubt; NASCAR machines at a track that isn’t an oval and full blown American pomposity? Surely this would not be that good. It takes a lot for me to say this, but I could not have been more wrong. The bombastic fanfare that greeted me would have been enough, and yet every time I took a breath more would come. The American Speedfest has become above all else, one of the highlights of the Brands Hatch calendar every year. The added bonus of spending the day with Stopwatch Hospitality will give you a truly unforgettable experience, matched by no one else. Exquisite hospitality and views, multimedia access and a behind-the-scenes package gives guests a memory few others will share, a first-hand account of the full motorsport experience. It is not just what the fans see, but how the racing is seen by the teams and drivers.

The only way is the USA. The only way is Speedfest. The only way is Stopwatch.

See you in 2016!

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