Villeneuve completes first NASCAR test Former Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve made his debut behind the wheel of a Bill Davis Racing Toyota Tundra machine Monday and Tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway.
Villeneuve, who has not raced on an oval track since 1995, when he won both the Indianapolis 500 and the CART Indy Car Championship, spent Monday acclimating himself to the No. 27 truck. After watching teammate Mike Skinner run a few laps, Villeneuve hit the track in his Tundra. By his 12th lap, Villeneuve’s lap time was 31.67 seconds around the 1.5-mile tri-oval and within six tenths of a second of Skinner’s times. Villeneuve finished the day only two tenths of a second slower than the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship leader.
The team made a number of changes to the truck throughout the two-day test session, but Villeneuve never slowed. His lap of 31.00 seconds Tuesday proved to the other Craftsman Truck Series teams attending the test just how talented he really is.
“It was a great test,” Villeneuve said. “I missed racing on ovals, so it has been a lot of fun the last few days. I definitely learned a lot. The truck has a lot more grip then I thought it was going to have. It turns very well. It took a little getting used to at first, but I am very comfortable in it now.”
“Jacques did very well,” said BDR Truck Team Manager Mark Chambers. “He gives incredible feedback and adapted to the truck extremely well. Overall, I would have to say that he was very impressive on and off the track. He will be a great asset to BDR.”
Villeneuve will make his first career NASCAR start in the Craftsman Truck Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sept. 22. He will then compete in the remainder of the NCTS events for Bill Davis Racing. The 36-year old champion could possibly make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut before the end of the 2007 season.
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