By Patrick Rall
Jacques Villeneuve, who has obtained open wheel glory in
winning multiple championships in the CART and Formula One world will run two
races later this year for Penske Racing in the #22 Discount Tire Dodge
Challenger. Villeneuve, who is somewhat
of a road-race specialist, will compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the
Road America 200 at Road America in Wisconsin on June 23rd and at
the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge on August 18th which will
take place in Montreal at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – a course named after Jacques
Villeneuve might be better known for his time behind the
wheel of “Indy cars” but the French Canadian racer has made 7 previous starts
in the ranks of the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
His most successful outings in NASCAR were at the Montreal Circuit
Gilles Villeneuve in 2010 when he finished 3rd along with another 3rd
place finish at Road America last year.
Jacques has been to victory lane at both of these tracks in his open
wheel days and the venue named after his father is technically his home track.
Villeneuve got off to a great start in Montreal last season
in the #22 Penske Dodge, starting on the pole and leading a great many of the
early laps but he ran into problems on a restart that sent him off track – and then
off to the garage area for repairs. He
finished the race two laps down in a disappointing 27th place. Should Villeneuve be able to show the same
dominance minus the restart issues – he could find himself climbing to the top
spot on the NASCAR podium for the first time in his brief stock car career.
Jacques Villeneuve will be the third driver to pilot the #22
Discount Tire Dodge Challenger, joining NASCAR Sprint Cup regular Brad
Keselowski and Camping World Truck Series regular Parker Kilgerman.