Friday, May 18, 2012

Penske Signs Villeneuve For Road Course Events

Former world driving champion Jacques Villeneuve will join Penske Racing for two upcoming road course races on the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule.

Jacques Villeneuve
Villeneuve will drive the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger in races at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on June 23 and Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on August 18; running each event for the second-consecutive season. He will round out a 2012 driver lineup for the No. 22 Dodge that also includes 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Brad Keselowski and Parker Kligerman.  

“I appreciate Penske Racing giving me the opportunity to get back behind the wheel of the No. 22 Dodge this season,” said Villeneuve. “Road America and Montreal are two of my favorite racetracks. I feel, after winning the pole last year at Montreal, that we can have a lot of success. A NASCAR victory is something I want.”

Villeneuve is one of only three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500, the Indy Car championship and the Formula One Series world title, joining former Penske Racing drivers Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi in the rare racing triple crown. Villenueve won the Indy 500 and the CART Series Indy Car crown in 1995 before moving to Formula One where he captured the driver’s title in 1997.

“Jacques is a premiere road racer that brings extensive experience to the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge team,” said Penske Racing team president Tim Cindric. “He gave us two strong runs last year and we feel he can do the same this season. We would like to be the team that gives him his first NASCAR victory.”

Villeneuve has made 10 NASCAR starts over the past five seasons, including seven in the Nationwide Series. He owns his top NASCAR finish at both courses when he finished third at Montreal in 2010 and Road America in 2011. In addition, he led the field to the green flag in last year’s event at Montreal.

In Road America and Montreal, Villeneuve will return to two tracks where he’s enjoyed some impressive history. He has already been to Victory Lane at Road America as he won the CART Series races there in both 1994 and 1995. He will then race in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec, Canada at the circuit named after his famous father, former Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve.

Villeneuve’s team has experienced considerable success over the last 27 months. Since making its debut in February 2010, the Discount Tire/Snap-on Dodge NNS team has recorded 12 wins, 11 poles and a remarkable 48 top-five finishes in 76 races. The team claimed Penske Racing’s first-ever NASCAR title when it won the series championship in 2010.

1 comment:

  1. If they're smart, they'll leave the mirrors out of his car and tell him everyone on the track loves him. I know he's a great driver, but if I was him, I wouldn't want to see what's coming at me. These guys know they don't have many shots at him, and he compiled quite the list last year. I'm looking forward to seeing a great race in America Jr. They usually put on a good show, and those fans are rabid!