Villeneuve to drive for Penske in Nationwide race One of the most accomplished racers in recent history will join Penske Racing for two upcoming road course races on the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) schedule.
Former world champion driver Jacques Villeneuve will compete behind the wheel of the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge Challenger in the Nationwide Series races at Road America (June 25) and Montreal (August 20). Villeneuve will fill in for reigning Nationwide Series champion, Brad Keselowski, at the two events, which will be run on non-companion race weekends with the NASCAR Cup Series.
“I am really looking forward to joining Penske Racing and getting the chance to race at two of my favorite tracks with the series championship team,” said Villeneuve, who recently tested with the team at Road Atlanta. “I am excited to work with the Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge crew and we should be very competitive in both of these events.”
Villeneuve is one of only three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500, the Indy Car championship and the Formula One Series world title, joining former Penske Racing drivers Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi in the rare racing triple crown. Villeneuve won the Indy 500 and the CART Series Indy Car crown in 1995 before moving to Formula One where he captured the driver’s title in 1997.
“It’s great to be able bring aboard a driver like Jacques, who has raced and won at the highest levels of motorsports,” said Tim Cindric, President of Penske Racing. “Jacques has run well at both of these tracks before and he’ll be a good fit on the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday team.”
Villeneuve has made eight NASCAR starts over the past four seasons, including five in the Nationwide Series. His top NASCAR result came last season when he finished third at Montreal.
Competing at both Road America and Montreal, Villeneuve will return to two tracks where he’s enjoyed some impressive history. He has already been to Victory Lane at Road America as he won the CART Series races there in both 1994 and 1995. He will then race in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec, Canada at the circuit named after his famous father, former Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve.
For the two upcoming events, Villeneuve joins a team that certainly has experienced its share of success over the last 16 months. Since the team made its debut in February 2010, the Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge NNS team has recorded six wins, five poles and a remarkable 32 top-five finishes in 47 races. The team claimed Penske Racing’s first-ever NASCAR title when it won the series championship in 2010.
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