Gordon "fired up" about Jacques Villeneuve UPDATE Jacques Villeneuve made the call to run at Talladega next Sunday, Mike Brown, the general manager for Bill Davis’ Toyota team, said. The Villeneuve move puts him smack in the middle of this year’s Nextel Cup championship, at one of the tour’s trickiest tracks, and men like Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch have expressed sharp disapproval.
“We evaluated where we stood with him, after the Talladega Car of Tomorrow test, and after the Truck race (at Las Vegas), and he actually was the one who came to us and said ‘Hey, I’d like to run the Cup race at Talladega,’” Brown said.
“We expressed the same concerns that all the drivers had. But in restrictor-plate racing, so far we’ve hardly run a plate race without a big wreck … and to my knowledge JV didn’t cause any of those.
“I could probably name 10 or 15 drivers in the field here today who need to take a good hard look at how they approach restrictor-plate racing.
“Jacques is very aware of the points situation, and what we’re trying to accomplish. But at the same time we’re trying to grow our program and get him prepared for the Daytona 500. And that race is very important for the sponsors we’re talking to.
“NASCAR feels comfortable with it, Jacques feels comfortable with it. We’ll take it one lap at a time. But he’s fully aware of the situation.
“Some of the competition needs to realize there is no perfect way to run a restrictor-plate race.”
“Jacques tested with these guys at Talladega for two days. And he feels comfortable doing this. This isn’t something we pushed for. We were content to stick with our original schedule.
“But when a Formula One champion and Indy 500 champion says he’s ready, you’ve got to trust his instincts.”
Villeneuve will skip the Talladega ARCA race. “But he’ll run the Truck race Saturday, and those Trucks are a lot like the Cars of Tomorrow,” Brown said.
After Talladega? “We’ll continue to run him in all the Truck races,” Brown said. “We have penciled in the Phoenix Cup race in November.
“And we’ll have him testing a lot, too, the Atlanta car of tomorrow, and to Kentucky and Iowa, to further the learning curve.” Winston Salem Journal09/28/07 Jeff Gordon said he was "fired up" about Jacques Villeneuve's possible debut in the Nextel Cup race next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. But he wasn't being Villeneuve's cheerleader.
Gordon said he was a fan of the former Formula One champion, but he didn't understand why Bill Davis Racing was putting the stock car neophyte in the race at Talladega.
"I am a big fan of Jacques, but I think this is not the right decision," Gordon said Friday at Kansas Speedway. "I didn't think it was the right decision with David Gilliland. Nothing against their talent, or anything else, I just look at that race in the Chase - Why? You want to run a race, go to Atlanta, go to one of the mile-and-a-half tracks. I am very, very surprised that was approved as his first Cup race.
"I don't agree with it, but I am not going to lose sleep over it either. Jacques did a nice job at the test, but you can't base anything on a test. I mean, that is just crazy. You have to have a race." More at Scenedaily