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Villeneuve to NASCAR reports gain speed UPDATE #9 Roush Racing appears to be finalizing plans to put former Indy 500 champion and F-1 star Jacques Villeneuve in a Ford for several Busch Series races next year. Although the schedule isn’t set, it’ll almost certainly include the Saturday afternoon, Aug. 4 road race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in his hometown of Montreal. Ford Racing 

[Editor's Note: So Villeneuve is going from being an F1 driver to being a lowly Busch Series driver and not for a full season but only for several races.  Although he would then have time to also be a full-time Champ Car driver in a series with three Canadian races, we suspect he will stay home on gardening duty.]

10/12/06 The rumors linking Jacques Villeneuve with Jack Roush Racing can end now, following the team's announcement that Truck Series regular David Ragan will replace veteran Mark Martin in the #6 Ford. That doesn't preclude JV from driving for them in the lowly Truck series.

10/07/06 One scenario floating through the garage Friday had former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve taking over the No. 88 Yates ride and bringing his own sponsorship money with him.

10/06/06 While former Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve hasn't wanted to talk about his rumored jump to NASCAR, Jack Roush of Roush Racing says the team has met with the Canadian driver. Asked Friday if the 35-year-old Villeneuve could be in a Roush entry in 2007, team owner Roush said, "That's a possibility. I know we're in discussions.

"He came to see us in Detroit and he's been in Charlotte and had discussions around our program and what he can do and the rate of which he could get up to speed,'' Roush said. "If he's got the stomach for it, and if we can find the sponsorship for it, that's certainly a possibility.''

Efforts to reach Villeneuve and his agent, Craig Pollock, for comment were not successful but when the Iberville, Que., native was asked about the rumors earlier this week in Montreal he said "I'm retired,'' but said it with a smile.

Roush president Geoff Smith cautioned that a Villeneuve deal for next year is unlikely because he wants a contract similar to fellow F-1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya, who was to make his stock car debut Friday. The Colombian driver, who signed with the team owned by Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates, plans to run races this season in ARCA, Busch and Cup to prepare for a full-time Cup ride in 2007. More at Globesports.com

Villeneuve, 35, is also now linked with another NASCAR team -- Robert Yates Racing.

10/05/06 Craig Pollock, manager for former F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve, denied a report from Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport that said Villeneuve signed with Roush Racing to race in NASCAR next year. Pollock: “What’s been said is totally unfounded.” But Pollock said that talks were “ongoing that could land Villeneuve in NASCAR next year.” Pollock said, “I’ve been in touch with numerous NASCAR teams and we are looking toward that for the future, but it being any one NASCAR team at this moment is unfounded” Montreal Gazette  

10/05/06 (GMM) French-language Canadian newspaper La Presse has added fire to speculation that Jacques Villeneuve will switch next year to NASCAR.

A reporter for the daily was this week shopping at an Ikea store in Montreal when he spotted the 1997 world champion with his wife.

Villeneuve, 35 - who left the BMW-Sauber team after July's German grand prix - told the reporter that the original Italian reports were 'only rumors', and added that he was 'retired', but interestingly did not issue a clear denial.

The team reportedly involved in the Villeneuve coup, meanwhile - Roush Racing - told ESPN on Wednesday that it has not signed a contract with the former Indy 500 winner.

But a Ford spokesman was quoted by the 'Globe and Mail' as indicating that Villeneuve could be talking to a Ford team. Roush has a vacancy for 2007 due to the withdrawal of Mark Martin.

10/04/06 Another Formula One driver is reportedly making the leap to NASCAR next year. Jacques Villeneuve has signed a deal with Roush Racing and will move back to Canada from his current base in Europe, according to a report in the Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport. When contacted by ESPN, Roush Racing said the story is not true and that Villeneuve has not signed with them. However, according to a report on TSN of Canada's Web site, reporters for La Presse spotted Villeneuve and his wife Tuesday in Montreal. When asked about the Italian report, Villeneuve smiled and said, "I'm retired." Villeneuve also said "they're only rumors" when asked if he was moving to Montreal but didn't deny the report. If Villeneuve were to sign with Roush Racing, he would likely take the opening left by Mark Martin, who is scheduled to retire at the end of the season. Roush also has six cars in the Busch Series, but Villeneuve has said that if he were to run in NASCAR, it would likely be at the Nextel Cup level. ESPN.com

10/04/06 Villeneuve's PR manager Yan Lefort told autosport.com: "I know Jacques is talking to people in America but nothing is signed."

10/04/06 (GMM) Axed BMW-Sauber racer and former world champion Jacques Villeneuve has reportedly signed a contract with Ford to drive for the Roush team in NASCAR next year.

If confirmed, the French Canadian would join McLaren refugee Juan Pablo Montoya in the premier American stock car category, which would be a coup for NASCAR after the pair attracted a combined 9 per cent of the driver popularity vote in the FIA's recent formula one survey.

The news could also reunite 35-year-old Villeneuve with Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, scene of the Canadian grand prix, after NASCAR this week confirmed that it will hold a race there next August.

Jacques said last month: ''If I was going to drive again, it would have to be NASCAR, that's all.

''Of course, when you look at the cars they're big and heavy and it's different, but the races look very exciting, and there's a lot of talent in there.''

10/03/06 According to rumors out of Europe, Ex-F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve has signed a deal to drive for Roush Racing in 2007. At this point we are not sure which NASCAR series (Busch or Cup) or whether it is a full-time or part-time ride.
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