Villeneuve returns to Nationwide
|By Diego Mejia||Tuesday, May 24th 2011, 17:01 GMT|
Jacques Villeneuve will drive for Nationwide Series champion Penske Racing in the championship's road course events at Road America and Montreal later this year.
The Canadian tested with the outfit last week at Road Atlanta and he is now set to drive the team's #22 Dodge at both events.
Reigning champion Brad Keselowski usually drives the car, but is not defending his title this season as NASCAR rules only allow a driver to score points in one national series and Keselowski is scoring in the Sprint Cup.
Villeneuve's outings will take place on June 25 at Road America and on August 20 at Montreal, where he has competed three times in Nationwide previously.
"I am really looking forward to joining Penske Racing and getting the chance to race at two of my favorite tracks with the series championship team," said Villeneuve. "I am excited to work with the crew and we should be very competitive in both of these events."
The 1997 Formula 1 world champion, one of only three drivers to win also the Indianapolis 500 and the Champ Car title, led at each of the two circuits last year on his way to 25th and third place finishes.
The 40-year-old Canadian has made five Nationwide starts in the past three years, all of them on road courses. He's had top-six starts each time and finished in the top 10 on three occasions, leading every race except last year's event at Watkins Glen.
"It's great to be able bring aboard a driver like Jacques, who has raced and won at the highest levels of motorsports," said Penske president Tim Cindric. "Jacques has run well at both of these tracks before and he'll be a good fit on the team."
Besides his Nationwide outings, Villeneuve has three Sprint Cup and seven Truck Series starts to his name. He last competed at NASCAR's top level at Indianapolis last year, finishing 29th.