Atlanta II: Jacques Villeneuve preview

Villeneuve aims for strong finish at Atlanta's Motor Speedway this weekend Jacques Villeneuve's 2007 program of selected NASCAR races and tests reaches its half-way point this weekend, as he joins the line-up for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck...

Villeneuve aims for strong finish at Atlanta's Motor Speedway this weekend

Jacques Villeneuve's 2007 program of selected NASCAR races and tests reaches its half-way point this weekend, as he joins the line-up for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, the `EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200' on the quad-oval, Atlanta Motor Speedway. Another debut circuit for the Canadian to learn, Villeneuve returns to a 1.5 mile track for the first time since his Las Vegas debut at the end of September, and although still focussed on learning as much as possible before a full season in the `Sprint Cup' series for 2008, the ultra-competitive Villeneuve is naturally hoping to score a strong finish.

Having had his last two Craftsman Truck races cut short by racing incidents beyond his control, Villeneuve has seen his very best efforts dramatically affected by the driving of those around him, and he will be working harder than ever with his crew chief, Richard `Slugger' Labbe to avoid trouble throughout the 200 mile race.

This weekend, as well as taking care of Villeneuve's UNICEF Toyota Tundra truck, Labbe will perform the same role for the No.36 Bill Davis Racing (BDR) Nextel Cup car, being driven for the first time by BDR truck series regular (and series leader), Mike Skinner. In what will be a busy weekend for Labbe, he will have his first opportunity to direct race flow from the pit-lane whilst Villeneuve, his star pupil watches the Cup race trackside.

Displaying no ill effects from his dramatic accident at the Martinsville half-mile track last weekend, when he was forced into the infield `safer barriers' whilst running strongly in the closing stages, Villeneuve arrived in Atlanta yesterday, ready to do his best on Saturday afternoon, in front of a sell-out crowd of 124,000 fans. He will again have to qualify well if he's to run at the front of the pack, but realistically, realises that his race truck is strong enough to see him lining up in the top ten drivers, with the bulk of the pack behind him.

Speaking from Atlanta last night, Villeneuve commented, "It's a fast track, so it'll be very different than Martinsville! Although this season is about gaining experience, I'm a racer, so a good result would be a bonus. I'll be out to cover as much mileage as possible, to learn as much as I can, and to keep building for 2008. Right now, BDR has a strong truck package, and I'll hopefully get to run some laps with Mike (Skinner) and Johnny (Benson). If I can do that, and stay out of trouble, I'm sure we can do well."

-credit: jvmedia

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , Jacques Villeneuve