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Button open to NASCAR oval racing if Cup Series outings go well

Jenson Button has no qualms about racing in NASCAR on oval tracks in future, as long as his first steps in three Cup Series road course races go to plan.

Jenson Button, Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang

The 2009 Formula 1 World Champion will make his first-ever NASCAR racing start in its premier Cup Series later this month at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, driving for Rick Ware Racing in a Ford Mustang provided by Stewart-Haas Racing.

As long as the three races – which also include the inaugural Chicago Street Race in July and the Indianapolis Road Course in August – go well, Button says he is open to expanding his NASCAR experience to the ovals.

“I think we all knew that an oval wouldn’t be a good idea,” he said of his NASCAR Cup racing debut on FOX’s RaceHub show. “I would love to do an oval but it’s another skillset altogether. That’s something that maybe I could do in the future, if I like the car and the series, maybe it’s a possibility.”

When asked by Motorsport.com if having Mobil and Stewart-Haas involved made his dream of racing in a future Daytona 500 more feasible, Button replied: “It is. For me, it’s not just about driving a racing car – it’s a racing car. It’s very different to what I’m used to, you get to grips with it over time, it’s the racing that’s a lot more difficult.

“Having cars all around you, having your spotter telling you who’s where, a lot of the time you’re stuck in the middle and you can’t really do much. It’s just a different type of racing, and that’s the bit that would take a while.

“I could go and drive on an oval, sure it would take time, but I’d get to grips with it – certainly a track like Daytona where it’s flat the whole way around. It’s when you put other cars into the equation and the drafting, the pushing – it’s a lot to learn.

“Doing that in the Cup Series probably isn’t the best way, like me jumping in a Cup car at Daytona. It would be better for me to get in a lower category first to gain a bit of experience that way.”

Jenson Button, Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang

Jenson Button, Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang

Photo by: True Speed PR

Button said what happens after these races is completely open, with sponsor Mobil the driving force behind the project.

“It’s all down to performance after that, isn’t it?” said Button. “The reason I’ve got this drive is because of what I’ve done previously, and my relationship with Mobil 1, but if they don’t go well then that doesn’t mean much for my prospects of getting a drive in 2024 for a full season.

“If I like the championship, if I like the car and think it’s fun and enjoyable, and I can be competitive, there’s always that possibility.

“And the circuits we’ve chosen work out really well, they’re the perfect trio. COTA I know, nobody has driven at Chicago – driving one of these around a street course sounds nuts – so it’s the same for all of us. At Indy, it’s different to the track I’m used to, but has some of the same corners.”

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