Villeneuve wants NASCAR ride

Villeneuve desperately searching for sponsorship

In case anyone needed a reminder about the state of the economy, Jacques Villeneuve — Canada's only Formula One/Indianapolis 500 champion — brought it home in spades yesterday. The native of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., appeared at the Canadian Motorsports Expo at the International Centre and spelled out just how hard it has been for him to attract enough sponsorship dollars to get his newly minted NASCAR career back on track. "It's tough going," he said. "There are still a bunch of (NASCAR) teams that are looking at getting funding for 2009 and I am spending virtually all my time trying to get (a deal) done."

The frustrating thing, of course, is that Villeneuve should be able to stand before any corporation in Canada, shake hands with a few company directors and come out with a wheelbarrow full of cash to back any kind of racing venture that he wanted. After all, he has one of the most recognizable names in all of sports; his late father is worshipped on two continents and he is a two-time Canadian male athlete of the year. And at 37 years old, he still is young enough to drive at least five more seasons at the top of his game in NASCAR. All this, however, amounts to a hill of beans with the auto manufacturing world in a death spiral. Villeneuve is so focused on breaking into NASCAR that he has decided to forego another opportunity with team Peugeot to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans this spring. Toronto Sun

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