Villeneuve `ready' for first NASCAR race, the `Smith's Las Vegas 350' Over the last three weeks, Jacques Villeneuve has been successfully working his way through a low- key NASCAR test program. All attention now switches to Villeneuve's NASCAR...
Villeneuve `ready' for first NASCAR race, the `Smith's Las Vegas 350'
Over the last three weeks, Jacques Villeneuve has been successfully working his way through a low- key NASCAR test program. All attention now switches to Villeneuve's NASCAR race debut, this weekend's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, the `Smith's Las Vegas 350', at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada. Villeneuve's initial challenge will be to qualify for Saturday night's race.
With a proven track record Villeneuve joins Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi as the only drivers in motorsport history to win the F1 World Championship, the Indianapolis 500 and the CART th IndyCar World Series Championship the 36-year-old Canadian enters the 2007 series in its 19 race of 25, and is required to qualify his Bill Davis Racing Toyota Tundra, truck number 27, in a field of 36 drivers. In accordance with the series structure, Villeneuve has just two laps to achieve that initial goal.
Assuming Villeneuve qualifies to plan he earned pole position for his first ever F1 race he will come under starter's orders at 21:00 ET/03:00 CET to take the first of the146 scheduled laps on the high-banked 1.5 mile oval. Villeneuve's BDR team-mate, Mike Skinner, is bookmakers' favourite to win the race whilst Villeneuve himself has been ranked a 25-1 outsider to claim a debut victory.
In spite of the fact that Villeneuve's recent `Car of Tomorrow' tests have seen him partnered with NACSAR veteran engineer, Richard `Slugger' Labbe, Villeneuve will be working with Doug Wolcott, an experienced crew chief within the BDR truck program, in Las Vegas,. It was Wolcott that successfully engineered Villeneuve when he tested the Tundra truck previously. His race spotter, another essential ingredient in the mix for success, will be Carl Miller, a native of Huntingdon, New York.
Commenting at the conclusion of one of the many media events that have punctuated his visit to Las Vegas, Villeneuve stated: "The primary challenge in qualifying is to make the most of my truck as well as the track conditions, and most importantly, to not make any mistakes. In terms of the race, I'm ready. I had a good feeling for the truck when I tested it three weeks ago, and haven't had any problems re-discovering how to drive quickly on the banking. The main focus for the race will be managing my position in the pack to ensure that we stay out of trouble, and that we are in the right place when we need to be. These are long races and tactics play a big part. I'm excited."
-credit: Villeneuve Media