NASCAR door still open to Villeneuve - manager UPDATE #7 (GMM) Jacques Villeneuve's manager has dismissed as "ludicrous" newspaper reports that said the 1997 world champion had missed his chance to switch to NASCAR in 2007.
Craig Pollock, who also ran the BAR team for several years, told the 'Montreal Gazette' that a deal could be in place by the end of the month.
Earlier reports indicated that Canadian Villeneuve, 35, had failed to find the requisite $18m in backing to drive for Roush this year, having lost his BMW seat in F1.
Pollock said: "We're in a very strong position with any team he wants to go to and there are many, many teams really interested in Jacques."
He dismissed as "the biggest load of **** I've ever heard" suggestions that his demand for a major management role scuppered Villeneuve's hopes for a deal with Roush.
Pollock added: "We're going to take our time to do things properly. Then we'll choose whether we want to go with Roush or go elsewhere.
"I get many calls every week from many teams, but we're looking at things very logically. Jacques still has 15 years to go (in motor racing), so why run into things when we can take our time and do it right?"01/02/07 Former Formula One driver Jacques Villeneuve's road to the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) continues to hit speed bumps.
After weeks of searching for a sponsor to come up with the roughly $18-million (U.S.) he needs to secure a ride in the NASCAR Busch Series, the 1997 F1 world champion has apparently set his sights a bit lower.
A source close to the 35-year-old from Iberville, Que., said that the former Williams driver is now looking at other ways of getting into a stock car.
"He's even talking about doing the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series now and then do some Busch to try to get into it," the source said.
"You know if you haven't driven these cars, there aren't a lot of people who want to touch you. The teams think there's steep learning curve which takes time and experience and they don't want to finance it."
The truck series is considered the bottom of the NASCAR ladder for young up-and-coming talents in stock car racing and not exactly a place where a 10-year F1 veteran would prefer to cut his teeth. More at Globesports.com 12/02/06 A reader writes, HAHAHA!!! Villeneuve didn't want to return to a seat in Champ Car because it was too "low" and a step down for him. But, apparently, driving a stupid brick wall truck around in circles isn't! Wow, it's amazing how low he has fallen from 1997. "Hey Jacques! It's about time you finally ditched Pollock. He has gotten you nowhere but down since the World Championship." D. Hughes, Cincinnati, OH
[Editor's Note: Having driven rear engine open wheel cars all his life we predicted awhile ago that Villeneuve would fail miserably at front engine stock cars. Those in NASCAR must agree because as you can see no one will touch him and he has to buy his ride by bringing sponsorship money. He should have returned to Champ Car where he started, but he thought himself too good for that.]
12/01/06 Former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve has reached an agreement with Roush Racing that will have him racing in NASCAR in 2007. Team president Geoff Smith confirmed this week that Villeneuve would begin his career in the Craftsman Truck Series before moving to the Busch Grand National Series.
12/01/06 According to RDS, the former Formula One champion has reached an agreement with Roush Racing to help facilitate his move into NASCAR next spring. Team president Geoff Smith tells XM Satellite radio that Villeneuve would begin his career in the Craftsman Truck Series before graduating to the Busch Series. Smith adds that there's a 50-percent chance Villeneuve could be in Montreal next August for the inaugural Busch Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Villeneuve reportedly needs to find between $16-million and $18-million in sponsorship before the deal can be finalized. TSN.ca
11/18/06 (GMM) Despite recent reports to the contrary, it is still possible that 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve will race in the NASCAR series next year.
Roush Racing boss Geoff Smith said last week that a deal for the 35-year-old French Canadian was an 'outside shot' for 2007, but Speed TV is now quoting him as saying that if Villeneuve and manager Craig Pollock can find the money, Roush is 'willing to work with them'.
"Really, the ball is in their court right now," he added.
Smith said: "I've heard in the garage that certain sponsors are being pitched by (Pollock), so there is some activity going on."
He cautioned that a deal would need to be put together in the 'next few days'.
11/14/06 Sources tell [MRN] Sirius Speedway that Jacques Villeneuve’s representatives have also been burning up the telephone lines to Robert Yates Racing, which has yet to name a driver for its #88 Ford next season. However, speculation in the Nextel Cup garage says Yates may actually be negotiating to sell the #88 half of his operation to Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
11/13/06 (GMM) An official for top NASCAR team Roush Racing has played down speculation that former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve is on the verge of following Juan Pablo Montoya into America's premier motor racing series.
Roush's general manager Geoff Smith said the chance was remote that French Canadian Villeneuve, 35, would race for the team in the lesser Busch category in 2007 ahead of a full-blown NASCAR assault.
"We're nowhere in that regard for '07," Smith told the Canadian daily newspaper 'Calgary Sun'.
"There are just general discussions that are going on, but I don't see us being able to make an arrangement to pull together a program (from) where we are today. It's an outside shot given the time of the year."
He added that Roush was 'interested' in working with Villeneuve, but insisted that a contract was not near signing.