Nadeau once climbed F1 ladder

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 14, 2000) -- Not many NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers can say they've driven on the same tracks as Formula One racers have. But MichaelHoligan.com's Jerry Nadeau has -- and successfully at that. Earlier in his...

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 14, 2000) -- Not many NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers can say they've driven on the same tracks as Formula One racers have. But MichaelHoligan.com's Jerry Nadeau has -- and successfully at that. Earlier in his racing career, the driver of the No. 25 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports competed in the Formula Opel European Union Series. The single-seat, open-wheel series raced throughout Europe on many of the same tracks that the F1 stars compete on, including Silverstone in England and Hockenheim and the Nurburgring in Germany. At the time, the Formula Opel Series was considered a stepping stone for F1 hopefuls. Nadeau finished sixth overall in the Formula Opel Series in 1996 with five top-five finishes and nine top-10 finishes after competing in only 13 of the 17 events that year due to limited funding. His exposure to the stiff competition of European racing increased his appreciation of the level of difficulty in F1 racing. He'll be keeping a close eye on the competition when the series makes its return to the United States Sept. 24 for the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I try to watch every Formula One race I can," Nadeau explained. "I'm very disappointed that I can't go to the U.S. Grand Prix, but we're racing that weekend at Dover (Del)." "I think it's going to be a huge hit," Nadeau continued. "It's about time that they had a F1 race back in the States. It's been a while -- nearly 10 years since they last raced here. People don't realize how many F1 fans there are in America, so I think Indy's going to be a big hit for the series." The U.S. Grand Prix will be the first American F1 race since 1991. That same year, Nadeau was just beginning his open-wheel racing career in the Skip Barber Eastern Series. He went on to compete in many open-wheel races throughout the United States and Europe until he started his NASCAR Winston Cup Series career in 1997. "F1 cars are totally different than anything I've ever driven," Nadeau said. "The closest thing is probably an F3000 car. Formula One drivers are true professionals -- I wish I were out there with them." As if the return of the series to American soil wasn't special enough, the site of the race adds an extra element of excitement to the event. Long revered as the most historic race track in the country, Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds special meaning to Nadeau as well. He drove his MichaelHoligan.com Chevrolet to a fourth-place finish in the Aug. 5 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Brickyard 400. "The Brickyard's always been special," Nadeau explained. "There's nothing that's going to beat the Indy 500, though. The U.S. Grand Prix is just an extra highlight for a very special place. I'm looking forward to watching a very exciting race on TV since I can't be there in person."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jerry Nadeau , Skip Barber
Teams Hendrick Motorsports