Gonzalez Jr. Returns to Historic Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Puerto Rican driver ready for NAPA Auto Parts 200 Nashville, TN (August 25, 2010) ... Has it really been one year? It seems like it was only a few weeks ago when Victor Gonzalez Jr.
Gonzalez Jr. Returns to Historic Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Puerto Rican driver ready for NAPA Auto Parts 200
Nashville, TN (August 25, 2010) ... Has it really been one year? It seems like it was only a few weeks ago when Victor Gonzalez Jr. climbed aboard the #05 Day Racing entry and raced in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. However, the record books show that August 30, 2009 was the day that Victor Gonzalez Jr. became the first Puerto Rican driver to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Gonzalez Jr. qualified 36th and finished 14th in the '09 NAPA Auto Parts 200, a race that was marred by rain for most of the 76 laps. Gonzalez Jr., a road course veteran, worked his way through the field to earn his top-fifteen finish. While many of his fellow competitors were racing in the rain and inclement weather for the first time, Gonzalez Jr. used his experience racing in those conditions to methodically work traffic during the race.
"Last year in Montreal was a very wild race," Gonzalez Jr. said. "It was tough with the rain and very slick track, not to mention having to dodge other cars slipping and sliding around the course. I'm really looking forward to this year and beautiful weather in Montreal."
Since his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start at Montreal, life has changed for Victor Gonzalez Jr.. The Puerto Rico driver has become a well-known figure in his native country. He has been the subject of several features on television and print publications about his career in motorsports. It was during this media attention when Ricky Martin, Puerto Rican legendary singer and entertainer, contacted Gonzalez Jr. to wish him well in an earlier Nationwide Series this year. The two quickly became friends, and now the #05 car that Gonzalez Jr. will drive in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 will have support from The Ricky Martin Foundation.
"It's really been wonderful working and representing The Ricky Martin Foundation," Gonzalez Jr. added. "I've been to several schools meeting and talking with groups of young people. It's been a very rewarding experience for me."
Gonzalez has competed in three NASCAR Nationwide Series events this year with a best finish of 23rd at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. However, Gonzalez Jr. feels as though he had a top-10 or better car in his last two races.
"At Road America, I had a good car and the pit strategy had me in position for a top-five finish," Gonzalez Jr. continued. "But, I got spun twice in the last few laps of the race and didn't get the finish we deserved. At Watkins Glen, a blown tire early in the race but us back in the field. Then, I got involved in an accident when the track was blocked with cars wrecking going up the hill. I am confident that I had at least a top-ten car at Watkins Glen too."
With Road America and Watkins Glen in the rearview mirror, Gonzalez Jr. turns his focus to the 2.709-mile, 15-turn road course in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
"This (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve) is not an easy track," Gonzalez Jr. said. "But, it is a course that really suits my driving style. It's really like a street course to me. My car was really good in the slow corners of this track, so I hope to use that to my advantage. Plus, I'll have some media from home at the race as well."
For the first time in his brief NASCAR career, Gonzalez Jr. will have a group of media from Puerto Rico traveling to Montreal to cover his weekend. They will provide updates during practice and qualifying as well as race highlights to his many fans back home. In addition, the Puerto Rican media will follow Gonzalez Jr. the entire weekend to give his fans a "behind the scene" look.
"Needless to say, this is a huge weekend for me," Gonzalez Jr. concluded. "I really enjoyed coming here last year. The Canadian fans were great. With a good car and crew, plus the support of everyone back home, I'm looking for a great weekend."
-source: victor gonzalez jr. PR