During a press conference Thursday at the VIP Room of the Autodrome, Jacques Villeneuve was introduced to the media as the new teammate of Andrew Ranger and Jonathan Bouvrette.
Following an agreement with Dave Jacombs, owner of Jacombs Racing in Hamilton, Ontario, and Tide and Walmart, sponsors for the race team, these three champions will drive similar Ford Fusions for the 250-lap race event. For Alan Labrosse, uniting these three drivers in one team for a race that he is promoting is a dream come true.
"Ever since I have bought this track, I have been planning new ideas, working on new projects in order to offer Quebec stock-car fans novel schemes," said Alan Labrosse. "It will be the case this Saturday night, July 11 as three class champions will be teammates in a dream team, driving similar cars. As owner and promoter of an event, it is hard to ask for a better outcome. It should produce a very good show for the crowd."
For the experienced Villeneuve, this will be uncharted territory: He will drive a new kind of racecar, in an unknown series, and on a very short track. "When Alan Labrosse called to offer this ride, I actually did not know what to expect, but it was an experience I was willing to explore," said Villeneuve. "I had no idea how the cars would handle, but I was pleasantly surprised when I did some private testing back in May. I was immediately enthused. I was surprised how well it handled, and on the power response of the engine. I was told that it is a very competitive series, that the drivers are quite experienced. I was also told that I should expect some hard knocks."
As for Andrew Ranger, he will live a long-time dream of his. "I will be racing with a hero of mine," said Ranger who sits in second place in the driver standings, eight points behind leader Ron Beauchamp. "Ever since I was a youth, I have been dreaming about this occasion. It thrills me to work with a driver that I admire. He will be driving a very competitive car, and even though he will be part of the team, he will also be another competitor to look out for."
The third member of the Jacombs Racing Team is Jonathan Bouvrette, who leads the new NASCAR Ippersiel Sportsman Series at the Autodrome, and winner of last year's NASCAR Whelen Quebec Weekly Series. The Saint-Jérome resident will also be living a unique day at the Autodrome. He won the opportunity to race in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race as a bonus for winning the 2008 St-Eustache Championship.
"I can hardly wait to be on track with Andrew and Jacques," said the 29-year old. "I saw the race here last May, and it was very competitive. The action should be more fierce this Saturday because there will be more cars on the track. Several drivers did not show up for the season opener, but the field has increased ever since. I don't have any specific goals in mind, but I would like to complete the race on the lead lap, if it is possible. I will try very hard to achieve that goal."
With the return of Andrew Ranger, the signing of Jacques Villeneuve for the race, and the Canadian Tire Series debut of local hero Jonathan Bouvrette, tickets are disappearing very quickly. Fans can still buy some reserved seats for the July 11 Tide 250 by calling the ticket office at (514) 591-4388 or by ordering online anytime at: www.billetsnascar.com.