Jacques Villeneuve is returning to NASCAR, this time with Penske Racing. The 1997 Formula 1 World Champion and 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner will take over the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge Challenger in the Nationwide Series races at Road America (June 25) and Montreal (Aug. 20). Villeneuve will fill in for reigning Nationwide Series champion Brad Keselowski at the two events, which will be run on non-companion race weekends with the NASCAR Cup Series.
“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, who recently tested with the team at Road Atlanta. “I am excited to work with the Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge crew and we should be very competitive in both of these events.”
Villeneuve is one of only three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500, the Indy Car championship and the F1 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 IndyCar Series crown in 1995 before moving to Formula 1 where he captured the driver's title in 1997. Since leaving F1, he has made sporadic appearances in NASCAR, Australian V8 SuperCar and Brazilian touring car races. Villeneuve has made eight NASCAR starts over the past four seasons, including five in the Nationwide Series. His top NASCAR result came last season when he finished third at Montreal.
“It's great to be able bring aboard a driver like Jacques, who has raced and won at the highest levels of motorsport,” said Tim Cindric, president of Penske Racing. “Jacques has run well at both of these tracks before and he'll be a good fit on the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday team.”