Puerto Rico Driver Makes NASCAR History in Montreal Gonzalez 14th in Nationwide debut Montreal, Quebec (August 31, 2009) ... Even before the green flag waved to start the NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Victor Gonzalez Jr. made...
Puerto Rico Driver Makes NASCAR History in Montreal
Gonzalez 14th in Nationwide debut
Montreal, Quebec (August 31, 2009) ... Even before the green flag waved to start the NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Victor Gonzalez Jr. made history. As the first Puerto Rico driver to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Gonzalez posted a 14th-place finish in his debut event.
"This was the most exciting and stressful race that I've ever driven," Gonzalez commented after the race. "There was no time to relax in practice, qualifying, or the race."
Gonzalez has an extensive road racing background, but he had no idea what to expect when he traveled to Montreal for the NAPA Auto Parts 200.
"I didn't get many practice laps in the GDSI / Ford Racing Fusion in the first session," Gonzalez added. "Then, NASCAR canceled the second practice. I knew that I had to qualify for the race on time, so that was going to be a challenge. The pressure to qualify in the rain for the race was intense." Gonzalez qualified 36th with a lap of 74.787 seconds/130.403 mph.
"My plan was to take care of the brakes and engine during the first half of the race," Gonzalez commented. "After the adjustments the crew made on our second stop, the car was really flying. At one point, I got in the top ten. Then, it started to sprinkle and I thought 'No, No, Please No' because my car was not setup for rainy conditions."
"After we put rain tires on, my car just wouldn't turn," Gonzalez continued. "So, we gave up track position to pit and unhook the sway bar. I restarted 21st, but the car drove much better. I had to dodge several wrecks and some wild action, but was able to get back to 14th at the finish."
"This weekend was a great learning experience," Gonzalez concluded. "The GDSI / Ford Racing Fusion Team never gave up and accepted every challenge. This race had a field of great drivers. I came here to compete, race smart, and deliver a good result for my team, my sponsors, and Puerto Rico. I'm really excited with our accomplishments this weekend."