Villeneuve and Carpentier testing in Atlanta

For the first time in history, and hopefully not the last, two french Canadians ran together on a NASCAR track as Jacques Villeneuve and Patrick Carpentier both participated in the Car of Tomorrow tests at Atlanta this week.

Carpentier, running in the Gillett Evernham Motorsport #10, car posted his fastest lap at 182.832 mph on Tuesday morning, good enough for 36th place out of 54 cars for that session. Carpentier placed slightly better in the afternoon in 31st place but speeds were slower as his 180.675 lap proved

Villeneuve also ran his fastest lap on Tuesday morning, clocked at 182.543 mph (43rd out of 54 cars). Villeneuve, at the wheel of the Bill Davis #27 machine, placed better in the afternoon with a 20th place out of 46 cars as he ran a lap at 181.497 mph

Villeneuve 14th in Atlanta

Jacques Villeneuve ran in his 4th Craftsman Truck Series race this saturday at Atlanta and scored his best finsh so far in a NASCAR race in 14th position. Villeneuve at some point was even up to 9th place but he struggled with and understeering car no adjustements could overcome. Villeneuve also had some difficulties running the high side of the track as he lost 4 places on both times he was running the outer lane.

In the end, Jacques was pretty happy to see the checkered flag as he missed both in Talladega and Martinsville. This time, all goals were completed as he even completed the race without loosing a lap.


Carpentier will run the last two races of the 2007 campaign

Confirmed on Jayski this week, Patrick Carpentier will be behind the wheel of the Gillett Evernham Motorsport #10 Dodge for the last two races of the 2007 season (Phoenix and Homestead) and will also run the Homestead Busch Series race in preparation for their 2008 campaign.

Scott Riggs will be driving this week's Atlanta race as well as the following race at Texas Motorspeedway


Ranger didn't have time to shine

The NASCAR Allstar Showdown at Irwindale was a pretty big step for Andrew Ranger as he had to learn a new car and a new track, both of which he had never driven before. After earning the 26th starting spot out of 40 cars, Andrew had 250 laps to move up to the front of the field. Sadly, Ranger never got a chance to prove that as he was involved in a crash that happened in front of him and his evening was put to an end on lap 31.

Villeneuve's day ends in the wall at Martinsville

Jacques Villeneuve had a pretty good run in his short track debut at Martinsville Speedway. Despite starting in the back of the pack (27th out of 36 trucks), Villeneuve was moving up through the field and had gain 15 positions while being bumped from behind the whole race when, on a restart at lap 143, he was involved in a crash with Jason Leffler and Clint Bowyer. The two were in a heated fight before the caution and soon after the green flag dropped, Villeneuve was bumped by Leffler and, as he was gathering back control, he was bumped again by Bowyer which sent him spinning in the inside wall.

Despite the 31st place finish, everyone in the Villeneuve camp was happy about what they learned and they all expected to have a rough day. Other newcomers also had a hard day as IRL champion Dario Franchitti and Grand-Am rising star Colin Braun day also finished in a concrete barrier.

Villeneuve's next start in the Craftsman Truck Series will be this Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with the green flag dropped at 12:30.


Villeneuve and Pollock bought Bill Davis Racing?

According to reliable sources at Auto123, Jacques Villeneuve and Craig Pollock have purschased Bill Davis Racing. Apparently, the team would continue to run their current lineup of drivers plus a Nextel Cup car for Villeneuve.

Villeneuve and Pollock are not at their first attempt in team management as their were owners of BAR F1 team


Andrew Ranger in the All-Star Showdown

Following the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series title won earlier this year, Andrew Ranger was invited to the Toyota All-Star Showdown held at Irwindale Speedway, California. The race is a 250 laps shootout between the best drivers from NASCAR local divisions, assembling the best drivers from the Busch East and West series plus the Mexico and Canadian series. As the race is ran with Grand National cars, Ranger had to find a car to drive, which was graciously offered by Dick Midgley from Midgley Motorsport, a Busch West racing team based in Canada.

As he's won the Canadian title, Ranger's starting spot in the main event is secured.

Purses for the showdown this year go as high as 400 000$ with 27 000$ up for grab to the race winner.

Qualifications for the race will be held this friday at at 8 pm and the race will be shown on Speed TV saturday night at 10 pm

Spengler unhappy with Audi's tactics at Hockenheim

In an interview after the DTM finale at Hockenheim, Bruno Spengler told Autosport he was more than unhappy with the tactics Audi employed against him during the race: "It's a shame that they left a car out until it ran out of fuel. They played team to prevent me from getting to the front to win the championship" Spengler said. He estimated the time lost behind Rockenfeller at more than 6 seconds on the track.

Despite accusations from Audi in the previous race, Spengler says Mercedes always played fair : "We fought so hard, but the fairness was not the same on both sides in the end. We played for the sport, they played for the team, like they did the whole season"

"When Paul di Resta (Mercedes driver) was in front of Ekström (Audi driver) they called him in. He could have blocked but Mercedes didn't do that for the sake of the sport. Unfortunately the result is not what it should be, but you can't change it. It was a difficult year, but we drove fair the whole season."

Jacques Villeneuve moves on to his first short track race

After riding the high banks of the longest track of the NASCAR circuit at Talladega Speedway two weeks ago, Jacques Villeneuve now takes on the challenge of the shortest one at Martinsville Speedway. Villeneuve's name is seen once again in the Craftsman Truck Series entry list in the #27 truck for Bill Davis Racing. Villeneuve will be at his 3rd CTS' race and his 4th start behind the wheel of a stock-car.

The race will be shown live on Speed TV this Saturday at 2:30 PM


Spengler 2nd again in DTM

Finishing fourth in the last race of the 2007 DTM championship season wasn't enough for Bruno Spengler today at Hockenheim. Spengler ends up in the runner-up spot again, this time a mere 4 points behind Mattias Ekstrom.

Spengler will have to try again next year for the crown, unless he makes the jump to Formula 1. Spengler has been in Mercedes' driver development program since he made the move to Europe in 2003. Lately, there has been rumours linking him with the new ProDrive F1 team lead by David Richards.


Villeneuve tests at Caraway Speedway

In preparation for the Craftsman Truck Series race in Martinsville (1/2 mile long, one of the shortest tracks on the NASCAR circuit), Jacques Villeneuve has been testing in Carolina's Caraway Speedway (0.455 mile race track). His team stated that, despite strong showings on the super speedways, Jacques had a lot to learn on the short tracks as it is a completely different kind of driving. Villeneuve is scheduled to run about 250 laps during his 2 days test.

Villeneuve back in the COT in Phoenix and Homestead?

Rumours have been circulating this week that, following his strong finish at Talladega, Jacques Villeneuve might be back behind the wheel of a Nextel Cup car very soon. The word around is that Villeneuve would run the races in Phoenix and Homestead and that he has tests scheduled in Nashville and New Smyrna to get ready for his next appearance in the COT.

No official announcement has been made yet.

Carpentier signs with GEM

Although his manager still says they're negotiating, multiple sources confirm Patrick Carpentier has a contract signed for 2008 where he would run the whole Sprint Cup (ex. Nextel Cup) season for Gillett Evernham Motorsport (GEM) in the #10, replacing Scott Riggs. The deal also includes about half the Busch races in the #9 car along.

If the #10 doesn't end this season in the top 35 owner's point, GEM might put a past champion behind the steering wheel for the first 5 races for the season, as to use the provisional starting positions it would benefit them.


Villeneuve learns a lot and finishes 21st

Jacques Villeneuve had qualified his #27 Camry in 6th place for Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Talladega but opted to start at the back of the field, a place where he'd learn a lot more since his car was prepared for a fast qualifying run and not in the race. During the race, Villeneuve went up as high as 4th place and managed to finish 21st, still on the lead lap.

Villeneuve also faced a lot of unusual situations for him where he gained a lot of experience. He dodged his first big NASCAR crash, lost the upper end of his shifting stick and at some point lost radio contact because the wired got unplugged. On the last restart, Villeneuve also lost the 3rd gear on his transmission.


Villeneuve crashes at Talladega

Jacques Villeneuve's second Craftsman Truck Series race was not much better than the first one. Early in the race this afternoon at Talladega, Villeneuve lost the lead draft and had a very hard time getting back to it. Afterward, on lap 60, the truck right in front of Villeneuve slowed down to get into the pits and, as Villeneuve checked out, he was bumped in the back and slid to the right, collecting both TJ Bell and Bryan Silas in the crash.

As soon as he was out of the truck, Villeneuve thought about the race he has to run Sunday : "Once you lose the pack, you're done. I hope there won't be a repeat tomorrow."

Villeneuve makes the field at Talladega

Jacques Villeneuve made an excellent qualifying run this afternoon at Talladega for his first Nextel Cup race and put his Unicef Camry on the third row with a lap of 50.88 seconds for an average of 188.215 mph. The Toyotas were very fast as they grabbed 5 of the 6 first starting spots.


Carpentier in GEM #10 car - rumour strengthens

Pierre Lecours reported in the Journal de Montréal this morning that a deal between Patrick Carpentier and Gillett/Evernham Motorsport (GEM) would be announced very soon. Carpentier would replace Scott Riggs at the wheel of the #10 car (as previously reported). George Gillett was heard on the radio saying Carpentier would be in one of his cars this season and for the whole 2008 campaign.


UNICEF colors for Villeneuve at Talladega

UNICEF Canada announced today they would be sponsoring Jacques Villeneuve Toyota Camry Nextel Cup car and Toyota Tundra Craftsman truck for the week-end races at Talladega.

Villeneuve rides will be in a blue and white livery with the legendary #27 on the sides.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck series will be held Saturday at 3pm. Qualifying for the Nextel Cup race will run Saturday at 11:15 and, if Villeneuve makes the field, he will drive the 500 mile race Sunday at 1pm.


NASCAR veterans unhappy about Villeneuve's decision

Jacques Villeneuve was certainly not expected a warm welcome from the NASCAR stars and it's exactly what he received.

Jeff Gordon was quoted this week saying : "I don't agree with it, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it either.
"Jacques did a nice job at the (Talladega) test, but you can't base anything on a test. I mean, that's just crazy. . . I think you need to get some experience in something else before you go stick them in the Cup race at Talladega, especially when it's so crucial for the championship." Gordon refers to the fact that Villeneuve's Nextel Cup debut will be on the fastest track of the circuit, right in the middle of the Chase for the championship.

Kyle Busch had about the same reaction : "He's doing what? [...] Holy cow, that's not good."

After the controversy, NASCAR reaffirmed their decision to allow Villeneuve to run the race since he passed all the criterias they were looking for.