Villeneuve's Cup season in doubt
|By Diego Mejia||Saturday, February 16th 2008, 01:35 GMT|
Jacques Villeneuve is set to miss the second round of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Fontana unless he lands a sponsor within the next few days, Bill Davis Racing officials said.
Since last year, the Canadian has been seeking sponsors for the No. 27 Bill Davis Racing Toyota so that he would be able to complete the whole 2008 season, but his and his team's efforts have not been successful.
Villeneuve's recent split with manager Craig Pollock has not helped matters, and Friday's announcement naming him as part of Peugeot's line-up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans leaves little doubt that his Cup plans are all but set.
The first Sprint Cup race of the season at Michigan takes place on the same weekend as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Mike Brown, general manager of BDR, said in an interview with ESPN.com that the team won't run Villeneuve again until a sponsor is found. Mike Skinner, who drives for BDR in the Truck Series, would probably replace the Canadian starting next weekend at Fontana.
"It's a race-to-race thing," Brown said. "We thought we had one sponsor, down to having the uniform with the logo on it. We just never got the deal closed. It's unfortunate for everyone.
"By missing Daytona and putting ourselves in the position of having to qualify to make the race we need somebody with Skinner's ability. Mike has run so well in the Truck Series out there."
Team owner Bill Davis also confirmed that his outfit is currently not in a position to continue to pay for Villeneuve's ride. Davis has considered selling his team since last year, but a possible deal with Craig Pollock also fell through.
"Everybody connected to Bill Davis Racing loves Jacques," Davis said. "We like the way he drives, we like him as a person. He is a great guy. He can be very successful, no question about it. But we are not in a position to keep spending millions of dollars to keep going."
Villeneuve was hoping to attract sponsors by making the field for the Daytona 500, but he crashed out of the Gatorade Duel qualifying race on Thursday and thus missed the field for the NASCAR Sprint Cup season opener.