Jacques Villeneuve will not return to the Sprint Cup Series next weekend at Watkins Glen after plans for an eventual return were called off.
The former Formula 1 World Champion, who last competed in NASCAR's top Series last year when he attempted qualifying for the Daytona 500, was in the frame for an eventual return at the wheel of the iconic #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge usually driven by Reed Sorenson.
The team has clarified that they contacted Villeneuve to be on stand-by to replace Sorenson, who inhaled carbon monoxide last Monday at Pocono Raceway in an incident during the race.
However, Sorenson has already recovered according to the team and he will drive the car next weekend at Watkins Glen.
"Reed Sorenson will drive the #43 Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International," said the team's statement. "The Petty team retained Jacques Villeneuve as a substitute driver in case Sorenson continued to suffer from the effects of carbon monoxide he inhaled in Monday's race at Pocono.
"Fortunately, Sorenson has recovered from the accident. Owners George and Foster Gillett along with the Richard Petty Motorsports team appreciate Villeneuve's willingness to help out on such short notice."
Villeneuve, who is understood to be working on a deal to drive in the Sprint Cup Series again in the future, will still make a return to NASCAR this month, competing in the Nationwide Series event at his home circuit in Montreal, at the wheel of Braun Racing's #32 Toyota.
While the Quebecoise will be absent at Watkins Glen, his countryman Patrick Carpentier will once again take the seat of the #55 Toyota usually driven by Michael Waltrip. Ron Fellows, another Canadian who has three top-5 finishes in Cup at The Glen, will drive the #09 car for Phoenix Racing.