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Parlez vous, NASCAR: French drivers to race in Trucks, K&N openers

Frenchman in NASCAR photo

Michel Disdier

The 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and K&N Pro Series East season-opening races will have a decidedly French flavor.

Michel Disdier, a 41-year-old racer from Nice, France, will make his second career Truck Series start in the Feb. 19 season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

Disdier competed in the 2014 Truck Series season opener at Daytona, as well, starting 33rd and finishing 24th, completing 83 of the event’s 100 laps.

As he did in that race, Disdier again will compete for owner Bobby Dotter’s SS-Green Light Racing team, driving the No. 07 Chevrolet Silverado in the Feb. 19 event.

“I am more than ever enthusiastic with the idea to again drive and control the car on (the) Daytona circuit,” Disdier said in a media release. “Taking part in such an event represented already a big step in my career.

“Returning to Florida for the third time announces being the perfect symbol of the passion which exists around our participation. A Frenchman in America, it is not banal in such closed and competitive discipline such as NASCAR.”

Disdier also raced at Daytona in 2013, finishing 11th in his best finish in 11 career starts in the ARCA Series. He also has one career start in the NASCAR Pinty Series (formerly NASCAR Canadian Tire Series), finishing 29th at Montreal in 2007.

Disdier will drive for Racing 2 Cure, which helps families who have a member fighting cancer.

The other French driver is Ulysse Delsaux, who will make his K&N Pro Series East debut at New Smyrna (Florida) Raceway on Feb. 14.

ulysse delsaux

Ulysse Delsaux

Driving the No. 46 Nexteer Chevrolet SS in the K&N series opener, the 18-year-old native of Troyes, France, is part of the Nexteer Road to Daytona program, which sends promising drivers from the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series to the U.S. to race.

“It is such an honor for me to enter this race, because it means that all the work we have done since the beginning of my career is paying off and the NASCAR family recognizes me as a good NASCAR driver,” Delsaux said in a media release. “This is just the beginning, and I hope to demonstrate I deserve more opportunities like this.

“I will enjoy every lap and give everything I have to show that I am a good NASCAR driver.”

After Daytona, Delsaux will compete again in the 2016 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, moving from the Elite 2 division last year to the premier Elite 1 division this year.

Follow @JerryBonkowski