Alberto Naska: the racing YouTuber who leads EuroNASCAR 2 standings after debut weekend
The driver we will be seeing behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro of CAAL Racing this year is Alberto Naska. He made his NASCAR Whelen Euro Series debut three weeks ago, competing in the EuroNASCAR 2 division. The Italian left Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia as the leader in the points standings with one victory behind his name. But who exactly is Alberto Naska? How did he manage to realise his dream of becoming a racing driver? And how did he experience the NASCAR GP Spain?
Photo credit: Stephane Azemard & Klemen Sofrić
At the moment Naska has almost 900,000 subscribers on YouTube, of which more than 150,000 on his English channel. In a ‘Draw My Life’ video he made in 2020, he tells us about his life. He was born in Turin in 1990. He used to play football (soccer) and on his first day at the club his coach told him: “Look at your nose! It’s huge! I’ll call you Naska from now on.” Naska means ‘nose’ in a Southern-Italian dialect. And that is where his nickname comes from, because his real name is actually Alberto Fontana. His family was poor and his loving mother made a lot of sacrifices to keep Alberto in school. His grades were really good, but he could also be the class clown sometimes. He loved working, like when he was ten years old he made his own crossword puzzles, which he then sold to his classmates. He left school for a whole month in his graduation year to fix boats. His school did not appreciate that, but he was allowed to graduate anyways due to his good grades.
While working on boats, Naska realised he had a passion for engines. He wanted to become a driver in Formula One or a rider in MotoGP. He befriended a driver from the Italian Formula 3000 who told him you cannot simply get into motorsports without money. However, with just one hundred euros in his bank account he went straight to a store to buy a steering wheel and pedals to go sim racing. He won a virtual championship and with it earned himself a test in a real Formula Renault 2000 car. He then went to university to get his bachelor degree in computer engineering in 2012 and the same year he participated in a talent show called ‘Make It Your Race’ on Sky Sports Italia: a by Abarth-organised competition for people who had the ambition to become a racing driver. Out of 30,000 audition videos 105 people were picked who then had to conquer difficult tests. Naska came out as the winner and he was given a brand new Abarth 500 which he unfortunately had to sell within a week, because he did not have the money to keep it.
Naska decided it was time for his life to take a different direction. He left university and moved to Milan with a plan. He wanted to film amateur motorcycle races and he found somebody who wanted to invest in him and buy him the necessary equipment. That is how Racebooking.net came to be. Through the years it became more and more professional and Naska made himself the commentator of the broadcasts he edited, just like he used to do in sim racing. He then uploaded videos of saves by Italian superbike riders onto Facebook in which he also explained the videos and they were viewed hundreds of thousands of times, sometimes even more than a million times. He began to make more and more videos with himself in the picture and the high viewership meant companies were interested in sponsoring him. This gave him enough financial backing to start racing on motorcycles and in formula cars from 2018, just like he had always dreamed of. One year later he became a champion on two-wheelers.
This season Alberto is competing in EuroNASCAR 2 with CAAL Racing. He finished in second place in the race on Saturday, before winning the race on Sunday, when Vladimiros Tziortzis’ car did not pass post-race technical inspection. He leads the championship with a six-point advantage over Martin Doubek and a nine-point advantage over Tziortzis. Naska, before he knew Tziortzis would be penalized after Race 2, told Dutch NASCAR Fans: “It went well. I did the best I could. If [Tziortzis] was only one tenth faster than me, I wouldn’t have been satisfied, but he was too fast for me. I realised after qualifying that I could’ve gone faster, but not as fast as him, so at that point I said: “Okay, he is faster. What should I do now? Save the tyres? Save the car? Bring the car to the end and score some very important points?” Many people told me that here in this championship the most important thing is to be consistent rather than make mistakes and lose a race, so 35 points is better than zero and I’m happy, because it was my debut. Driving [in] second [place] in EuroNASCAR 2 and my lap times would’ve given me a top ten in PRO… For a debut that’s fine.”
“I was proud, everyone was proud”, said the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro, talking about his podium finish. “The best thing is the team and the engineers told me they didn’t expect such a good result. When you do better than expected, it’s always good. I can be proud of that, but not just for my result, but also the work all of us put into it. For example, my agency who made it possible, working together to find sponsors, building all these projects and also thanks to NASCAR to help me come here and making everything possible. When you do something good for the [motorsports]-ecosystem, you find out people want to help you.”
“A big hi to all the Dutch fans that follow NASCAR”, Naska concluded. “I hope they will enjoy the video I will post. Watching the races in for example Formula One, I realise how passionate Dutch people are about motorsports, because in every Formula One race you see everything is orange. Such a small country with such a big passion. It amazes me.”
The next race weekend of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will be held on the Indy-layout of the Brands Hatch circuit on June 11 and 12.