Edwards, Villeneuve - NASCAR press conference, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q: You were talking earlier about the crowd. Do you notice any more that the crowd gets behind him since he's the home guy? CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, the track is named after his father, but I also noticed that the crowd...

Continued from part 1

Q: You were talking earlier about the crowd. Do you notice any more that the crowd gets behind him since he's the home guy?

CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, the track is named after his father, but I also noticed that the crowd -- the crowd seems to be very -- very seem to cheer for the race and cheer for the success of someone whoever wins, do you know what I mean? They are less like aligned with a driver. They are more excited about the race and the event and seeing a good event. That's kind of neat. They feel like very new fans that are very excited about the sport. That's a little different.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks again for your time and enjoy the rest of your time this week and we'll see you Sunday in Montr?al.

CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, thanks, tell Jacques good luck on his second place run; I hope he enjoys it.

THE MODERATOR: We welcome Jacques Villeneuve, who will be driving the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota for Braun Racing at Montr?al on Sunday, Jacques has run in two NASCAR Nationwide Series races this year, he was in the mix for that win at Road America before a breakdown ended his bid there. But he rallied for an eighth place this month at Watkins Glen, and that was his debut at that track. He has run twice in the Nationwide Series at Montr?al, as we have said, his home track bearing his dad's name. He was 16th in his series debut in 2008, and he was fourth last year.

Thanks very much for your time today. We appreciate you joining us.

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: You've come so close to getting that first NASCAR win, and now here we are back at your home track and very solid equipment. You have a little bit more experience in the stock cars; so what's your approach going to be like for Sunday's race?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: Well, we are coming in aggressively. It's the third year I raced with the Braun team, and with the Dollar car, it's been four races, five races. So we are starting to work well together and we have really worked hard on the road course program car-wise, and we also are bringing different brakes for Montr?al. It's a very demanding track, and I'm a late braker. I'm a heavy braker and which is where I make most of my time at Elkhart Lake, and even at the Glen, actually.

So we are pulling out all the stops for Montreal so we can compete. The first year when it was the heavy rain, we led the lap and then I crashed under a caution. That was a little bit annoying. And we were quite competitive last year. So I think we are coming this year to try and win it.

Q: You're in a great position of being able to race when you want and what you want; after this race this weekend at Montr?al, what's on the racing horizon for you?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: Well, after Montr?al I have a race in Australia, Surfer's Paradise. It's I think the 25th anniversary of the track or 30th, I can't remember. So they are doing a two-driver entrance race and I think there are 18 of us that are invited, all guys that have raced in Surfer's Paradise either in Indy Car or some other form of car so that should be fun. That's where Marcos Ambrose comes from originally, those kind of cars, so I've always wanted to get a hand at them.

Then right now that's all I've got in the pipeline because I've been busy working on F1 program, so I don't want to be docked with racing too much so I could concentrate on that. If I end up winning Montr?al, then I'll get an oval race with the Braun team, as well.

Q: If you look at what you've achieved in your career, what would you say is at the top of the list of things you would like to do, not necessarily this year or even next year; what's the at top of the list of things you would like to do in racing that you have not yet attempted?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: Well, I've won at two of the three major events I've been in, which was the Indy 500 and the F1 Championship. Sadly at the LeMans 24 Hours, we finished second, when we led most of the race and that was a little bit frustrating. So the other thing that would be amazing is to win NASCAR, that would be incredible.

Q: I'm just wondering about where this will lead you with Formula 1 project, where will this be going? Because you're waiting the FIA decision on that, and if that comes through, how will you be able to juggle what they have always mentioned, with other races, down in NASCAR, and where the future might be going for you, because a big step is going to have to be -- you're going to have to work very quickly to be up to speed in the 2011 season.

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: The FIA decision is pending, supposed to be by the end of the month and I really hope it won't happen during the race weekend, because I just want to put my mind behind the race, just work on the race and trying to win it. So I don't want to spend a weekend discussing Formula 1 basically and not concentrating on the NASCAR race.

So a lot will depend on what the decision is. If it's a positive decision, then I'll have to be almost 100% available on building the team and getting the ball rolling. I'm not sure yet where we are heading. We still have to wait for the decision.

Concerning NASCAR, there's a race this weekend which is really important. We have put a lot of effort into it car-wise, brakes, everything. We will come here wanting to win.

And we are not a team that also has a big Cup effort; so that makes it a little bit harder on us. But you know, with the road course experience, I am trying to compensate and it's been working with well so far, like at Elkhart Lake where we were quite competitive. And the good thing this year, with the racing we have had with the Braun Dollar General car, we have got good TV coverage and we have did the Brickyard as well, and that's starting to opens door in NASCAR, as well.

Q: Should that F1 bid work, would you be looking into NASCAR for personnel, either on the mechanics and the team side, as well as the drivers, maybe give some of these guys a whirl and see what they can do with these cars --

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: There's talent everywhere and there's definitely talent in North America and NASCAR, even driver-wise, there's always been this perception that oval racers can't drive a road course and a road course driver can't race on ovals.

Now if you look at Montoya, he's doing amazingly well on ovals, and he has won the Indy 500, as well, and typical NASCAR drivers that don't come from a road racing background learn very quickly what they need to do on a road course and actually do them very well.

If you're talented and if you've got the brains to go with it to actually learn your craft, then you'll be good at any form of driving.

Q: So would you give these guys a whirl since you'll have the keys to the car?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: Not the six-footer ones (ph) (laughing).

Q: Two parts for you. Can you please talk to us a little bit about the physical demands about driving the stock car on the circuit that you will run this weekend? And Formula 1, your gear shifting is at your fingertips and it's a lot more physical an endeavor in a stock car, heavy breaking, technical parts to this course; can you describe a little about that? And secondly, can you tell us a little about what you've done with the brakes on this car, because at the Glen, we know you had some braking issues and you were talking about needing some brakes that were more robust for Montr?al. So both the physical demands of racing here and what you've done with the brakes since Montr?al.

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: The physical demand in NASCAR, first of all, is heat. The cars are hot. The races are long. But that's just like the Brickyard was crazy hot. Montr?al, it's the brakes, how heavy you have to hit the brake pedal, lap after lap. And that's where it gets tough. If you're going to brake hard the whole race, then you almost need two feet. So that makes it very tough, mostly if you're doing it for three hours.

Brake-wise, the later you brake, the more heat gets in there and then everything starts bending, basically, so you end up with a brake pedal that gets long. I wasn't then, I was hitting the bottom of the brakes and I just couldn't brake any harder. There was nothing else to press and they get hot to the point where it just slides and it doesn't brake anymore.

So you just have to do a few laps, brakes left to cool it down a little bit. We were not as quick in the Glen as we were at Elkhart Lake, and I was making most of my time on the braking. We were lacking a little bit of speed coming out of the corners for some reason, and hopefully that will be different in Montr?al, and I won't need to use the brakes as much to make up for the time.

Q: You told us at the Glen that you were enjoying NASCAR racing so much because you were not doing it an awful lot and sort of being into the politics of the sport and so on and how much you enjoyed the fact that you were not dealing with all of the political nonsense that you had to deal with in Formula 1. Is it purely because of a love of Formula 1 that you would be willing to endure the politics of that sport again by getting back into it if the FIA goes for you?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: Well, there's two aspects. They are amazing cars to drive. They are the fastest cars on the planet, so anyone who can drive one would have a hard time to say no, even the chance to drive a few laps.

The politics are not fun, when you get out of the car that's not fun but the thing is we are building a team. It not a three-year project; it's a 40-year project. In the long run, there's something exciting about that, the business side of things, and it's acceptable -- I don't mind getting into politics as long as I'm not driving at the same time. It's the two together that just doesn't work.

Now, NASCAR, I would be happy to race every weekend. That would be great. I love driving, I love racing and that's why I enjoy the racing that I've done in NASCAR, that's why I enjoy them so much is all of the focus is purely behind the wheel, and you can really, even when your setup is not perfect, you can find a way to drive beyond it to figure a way to still make the car go quick. It's tough during a whole race, but for qualifying, for some laps, you can find a way to muscle your way through and that makes it a lot of fun. And part of the reason the F1 project started happening is also because the doors simply were not opening in NASCAR.

Q: Are you patient enough to be able to live with being a back marker in Formula 1 for a couple years until things started to come around for you?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: It's okay to be a back marker as long as you have a long-term plan, backing and financials that allow you to build a project. When we built BAR, if you just have something in place that's barely alive and that could only work for maybe a year, then no, because all you have is the stress and because you have a bad year, can you not build on it. But if you have a long-term in place, that's fine because it's part of the building process.

Q: Considering the success of the Montr?al Nationwide event the past few years, should there be a Sprint Cup race in Canada, do you believe? Do Canadian fans deserve a Cup race, and would it work?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: I think they do and I think it would be very popular. There's already a big crowd for Nationwide and it would be quite as big for the Cup race. And also, the Montr?al crowd is used to having a top level of racing which is Formula 1, so they are expecting to get the Cup as well.

So it would have a big success and it would bring a new market and new sponsorship race to the whole of NASCAR; that just having Nationwide makes it a little bit more difficult, because they are used to having Formula 1 anyway. So to them, to bring the Canadian companies into NASCAR, you need to get the Cup there.

Q: Next year, we were talking about Carl about the fact that NASCAR, instead of Montr?al being a stand-alone date, it is on a Saturday with a Sunday Michigan Cup race. Do you think that's evidence that NASCAR knows there's so many NASCAR race fans in Canada that they could fill up Montr?al on Saturday and still get tremendous Canadian attendance, which they always have at Michigan as well? Do you think NASCAR knows the volume and passion of Canadian fans?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: Well, Saturday and Sunday are days off so they are the same, and sometimes it's easier to get people on a Saturday instead of Sunday, which is a kid and family day. So Saturday is a good day. And also, the problem with the stand-alone day, it's one of the two weekends off that the Cup had yet so, some of them don't want to go racing that weekend, where if they are already not racing too far, they might come on Saturday.

Q: Le 13 aout dernier vous avez fait une pr?sentation ? Geneve, en Suisse, de votre projet d'?curie Villeneuve-Durango, qu'est-il sorti de cette pr?sentation?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: On ne sait pas, on attend les r?ponses. Tout le monde avait l'air content mais en m?me temps, on ?tait devant un panel, un peu comme des juges. Donc, on ne s'Attendait ? aucune r?action. On ne sait pas si quelqu'un d'autre a fait une pr?sentation donc tant qu'on a pas de r?ponse, on ne sais pas comment ca a ?t? recu, percu. Je sais qu'on a fait une bonne pr?sentation. On est content de ce qu'on a en place. On a aucun doute sur comment vont ?voluer les choses si la r?ponse est positive. Maintenant, il faut quand m?me avoir la r?ponse positive parce que c'est du " tout ou rien ". Soit, ca fonctionne et c'est g?nial, soit on a une r?ponse n?gative et tout ce qu'on a mis en place tombe ? l'eau. Il n'y a vraiment pas de porte de sortie.

Q: On the 13th of August, you took part in a presentation in Geneva, in Switzerland, about the Villeneuve-Durango Formula One team project you are working on. What came out of this presentation?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: We don't know yet. We're waiting for answers. Everyone looked satisfied but, at the same time, we were in front of a panel which was not unlike being in front of a judge. We were not awaiting any reaction on their part. We do not know if anyone else made a presentation so until we get a formal reply, we will not know how it was received and perceived. I know that we made a good presentation. We are happy of what we have in place. We have no doubt on how things will move forward if the response is positive. This being said, we still need a positive response because it's an " all or nothing " situation. If it works, it's great. If not and we get a negative response, everything that we put in place will have been done for nothing. There is no middle ground.

Q: Quel sont vos objectifs pour cette fin de semaine ? Montr?al?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: Cette ann?e avec l'?quipe, on est la pour la gagne. On a tout mis en place. Bon, maintenant, ca peut ne pas marcher. M?me les meilleures ?quipes, y'a certains week-ends de course, ils roulent en arri?re, ca arrive ? tout le monde. Mais nous, on a tout mis de notre c?t? cette ann?e pour se battre pour la gagne. J'esp?re juste qu'il n'y aura pas trop de stress par rapport ? la Formule 1 pendant le week-end car je veux vraiment me concentrer sur le NASCAR.

Q: What are your goals for this weekend in Montreal?

JACQUES VILLENEUVE: This year, with the team, we are shooting for the win. We have put everything in place for that. It might not work. Even the top-teams have an off-week once in a while and end up at the back of the pack. It happens to everyone. However, for us, for this year, we have done all that we have to be in position to fight for a win. I only wish that there won't be too much stress coming in for the F-1 side this week-end as I really wish to concentrate on NASCAR.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, I know it's already been and will continue to be a very exciting week at home for you in Montr?al, so we appreciate some of your time and best of luck on Sunday.

-source: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Marcos Ambrose