The Daytona 500 In The Sights Of Jacques Villeneuve!
Jacques Villeneuve will participate in two days of private testing next week in Florida with a view to possible participation in the prestigious Daytona 500 event which will be contested on February 20.
Two Days Of Testing For The Driver Next Week In The NASCAR Cup
The 1997 Formula 1 world champion was recruited by the Dutch team Hezeberg with whom he had already completed a few training laps last October on the road circuit in Charlotte, North Carolina. I am going to Daytona to drive for two days [next Tuesday and Wednesday], the main person confirmed in a telephone interview with the Journal yesterday. The approach is to see how the car behaves on the oval circuit.
“The goal and I’m not hiding it, is to participate in the Daytona 500 in February,” he added. I don’t want to make this long trip [he remains in Italy] for the simple pleasure. I’m not going there as a tourist. ”
On Oval Circuits
The Hezeberg team, which has distinguished itself in the Euro NASCAR series (in which Villeneuve has been involved for a few years) is racing the driver Loris Hezemans, originally from the Netherlands. The latter intends to participate in all road circuit events on the NASCAR Cup calendar in 2022. It is aboard this Ford Mustang that Jacques Villeneuve will attempt to participate in the famous Daytona 500 Classic in February.
Villeneuve was appointed by the same team to try his luck in a few races on the oval tracks, including the Daytona 500. But the one who celebrated his 50th birthday last April will have to go through several stages before confirming his place in the most famous stock car race on the planet, described as the “Super Bowl” of NASCAR.
If his Ford Mustang gives him satisfaction and he feels capable of continuing his journey after his two days of testing next week, he will have to take part in a first qualifying session on Wednesday, February 16, which will allow the two most rapids to secure their place on the front row of the starting grid for Sunday’s 200-lap race.
The 38 other places on the grid will be determined following the results of the two “Duels” events scheduled for Thursday evening. Last year four drivers failed to qualify and had no choice but to come home.
The Memory Of Talladega
Villeneuve has four starts in the queen discipline of NASCAR, including a very noticeable first attempt on the Talladega speed ring in 2007, where he achieved a brilliant sixth place (out of the 43 entered) in qualifying.
However, he had chosen to start at the back of the peloton so as not to harm the other pilots who were much more experienced than himself. He reached the finish in 21st place while completing the race in the same round as the winner, Jeff Gordon. This is his best NASCAR Cup result ever. He also raced in Phoenix (2007), Indianapolis (2010), and Sonoma (2013). In 2008, he tried his luck to qualify for the Daytona 500, but an accident involving him in one of the “Duels” had excluded him from the starting grid.
Few Canadian Pilots
There are very few Canadian drivers to have competed in the Daytona 500. The last was the Ontarian DJ Kennington in 2017 and 2018. The Montrealer Dick Foley would be the last Quebecer to have taken part in the event in 1960. The best Canadian performance (10th Place) in this classic belongs to Roy Smith of British Columbia in 1982.
If Patrick Carpentier has two appearances on the legendary Florida oval, he has never taken part in the Daytona 500, despite 42 NASCAR Cup participation between 2007 and 2016. In 2008, his qualifying session was ruined by a puncture. in preparation for the Daytona 500.