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Few races but many enemies for Jacques Villeneuve in NASCAR

By admin | June 24, 2012

By Richard Allen

 

Jacques Villeneuve may be a former Formula 1 world champion and Indianapolis 500 winner but that alone doesn’t seem to be winning him very many friends in the NASCAR garage. The Canadian driver makes only rare road course starts in stock car racing but he has shown quite an ability for making enemies in those limited events.

And now, count Danica Patrick among those who departed a track angry as a result of the aggressive driving style of this road course ‘ringer’ following Saturday’s Sargento 200 Nationwide Series event in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Also, Villeneuve found himself involved in a mishap that included series points leader Elliott Sadler and another with Michael McDowell.

The Patrick situation occurred on the last lap as a pack of drivers, including the two former open wheel stars, were racing for positions inside the top-5 behind eventual winner Nelson Piquet, Jr. Villeneuve drove into turn 5 of the massive four mile Road America track a bit too hard and tagged the rear bumper of Patrick’s Chevrolet, sending the popular female driver for a spin.

Although obviously perturbed by the turn of events, Patrick measured her words regarding the Villeneuve incident carefully during an ESPN post-race interview. “That’s the bummer that we weren’t able to finish that off and finish off with a top-5 like I feel like we all deserved,” she declared. “You all can make a decision for yourself what you think happened there.”

However, Patrick crew chief Tony Eury, Jr. wasn’t so guarded with his comments after he confronted the opposing driver after the race. “Every time he comes over here and races, he pretty much has a car that looks like that,” Eury said, pointing to Villeneuve’s scraped front bumper. “He has a perfectly good winning car but he can’t finish it because he’s not a good thinker. I just told him ‘If you’re gonna be a great race car driver then start performing like one’.”

For his part on the Patrick issue, Villeneuve said that he got into her because Max Papis had pushed him into the grass at the critical point on the track where heavy braking for the tight turn takes place. As a result, Villeneuve claims he was unable to get his Penske Racing Dodge slowed enough to avoid contact.

The incident in which Villeneuve was involved with Sadler occurred in the same turn 5 but appeared to be much more of a so called ‘racing deal’ as cars jockeyed for position and the #2 car simply found itself on the receiving end of the final bump. However, based on Villeneuve’s past history, even ‘racing deals’ are going to create an uproar.

Villeneuve was himself the recipient of a turn 5 bump when McDowell tagged him. After the race, McDowell explained that Villeneuve had charged so hard into the turn that he was much too slow in the middle of the corner, making contact unavoidable.

This race seemed to serve as merely a microcosm of Jacques Villeneuve’s NASCAR career. He makes very few starts in this form of racing but displays an uncanny knack for making enemies.

A better result leads to better emotions for Kurt Busch http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1841

Topics: Articles |

15 Responses to “Few races but many enemies for Jacques Villeneuve in NASCAR”

  1. James Says:
    June 24th, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I am going to be honest, I kind of like watching him race in these Nationwide races. That’s even after he almost cost Marcos Ambrose (my favorite driver) the Montreal race last year with a bonehead move. At a time when most drivers are patient and courteous Jacques is balls to the wall every single lap, and as a fan that is what I want to see. He absolutely ends up driving over his head many times in these races, but I wonder how much of that can be attributed to his lack of experience in stock cars. Despite some questionable moves in the race yesterday, I can’t seem to dislike the guy and there’s no doubt the races would have been less interesting without him in it.

  2. Russ Says:
    June 24th, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    While no fan of Jacques, it seems odd how selective the criticism of this type of stuff is when discussing Nascar. It made the career of Dale Sr., Its overlooked or celebrated depending on whether a fan likes the particular driver involved. Its almost the entirety of every Nascar ad on TV.

    Yet sometimes its “wrong”. Never have been able to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Guess thats my problem.

  3. Tony Geinzer Says:
    June 24th, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I find Jacques is willing to do anything for a buck as he is no Mario Andretti, the other guy who’s done 500,National and World Title.

  4. Tony Says:
    June 25th, 2012 at 2:08 am

    Nobody would even be talking about this if he had hit anyone besides princess danica. Jacques has hit everything on the track the last few years, but you didn’t hear the tv broadcasters gasp like they did when danica got hit. It’s ridiculous. Yes she ran a great race and I give her all the credit for that, but the way they fuss if anyone dares bump her or race her hard is ridiculous.

  5. Steven Says:
    June 25th, 2012 at 5:36 am

    The blind Danica squirrel almost found an acorn.

  6. Josie Says:
    June 25th, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Well…among us “regular drivers” if you hit someone in the rear it’s ALWAYS your fault… It was sad…Patrick drove a beautiful race and didn’t deserve the shot in the rear given to her. I give her credit she gathered her car back up and finished a respectable 12th. As far as Jacques goes..it would have taken him along way if he had acknowledged the mistake instead of pawning it off on another driver. If I was him I’d sit out the next few road races in Nationwide…I don’t know if his car would make it 5 laps before another driver (or three) had a “whoops” and Jacques ended up in the gravel!

  7. fiftyseven Says:
    June 25th, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Jacques was a major bonehead last year in both road course races, but I must say I can’t really fault him for either the Sadler or Patrick wrecks. Sadler clearly was turning left to avoid what was going on to his right. And then, on the last lap of the race when everybody is going all out, you can’t expect his slowing distance to be the same as everybody else’s when Papis pushed him into the dirt in the braking zone. His biggest mistake was his stupid interview afterwards. I think he has a fair argument for the wreck not being his fault, but to say it had nothing to do with him was dumb. “It’s too bad about what happened with Danica, but Max pushed me onto the dirt so I just couldn’t get slowed down in time” would have been a good quote for him.

  8. Larry Says:
    June 25th, 2012 at 9:16 am

    First of all, let me get this straight, I am no big Danica fan. But, that being said, what happen to her was inexcusable. The girl had drove her tail off and probably would have had a top five finish. Jacques clearly drove over his head and took her out. She didn’t deserve what happen to her. Listen, I still have doubts on how successful she can be in Nascar. But, that being said, she doesn’t seem to catch a break and gets spun out quite often. And, I do think some of it is resentment by some of these guys that they are getting beat by her. I hope in the future these other racers will let her prove herself without spinning her out. If she is not a good driver it will show soon enough on it’s own without guys spinning her out. I don’t know how good or bad she will turn out to be but Sunday she proved that she can drive a pretty good road race against a lot of other good drivers.

  9. Eric Says:
    June 25th, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Jacques did nothing wrong, it was clearly a racing incident, with him and Danice wheel hopping the cars and with Jacque’s breaking points being a little further in than everyone else on the track….Something was bound to happen. Please he was run off the track just previous to that bump, although he managed to get the car straight again, his left side tires were still “contaminated”…you can not blame Jacques for this. I hate it for Danica cause I was sure happy to see her content, she works hard, plays hard and deserves the car she is in but in no way am I going to fault Jacques on that deal!!!

  10. Richard Says:
    June 25th, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Emotions always run high when an “outsider” doesn’t play nice with the regulars even if they are better road racers. It was a racing incident plan and simple.

  11. Moose Says:
    June 25th, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    One of his fellow drivers put it best - Villeneuve is like a bowling ball on the track, knocking everyone out of his way. It wasn’t just Danica yesterday, and yesterday wasn’t the first time he’s done this.

  12. fiftyseven Says:
    June 25th, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Larry, it’s too bad about what happened to Danica, but really how was it Jacques’ fault? You can’t stop a 3000 lb stock car when you’ve been knocked into the dirt under breaking… it’s just a matter of physics, and Max is the one who knocked him onto the dirt.

  13. Dennis Says:
    June 25th, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Max, who bumped Jacques off course in the braking zone, told people during his post race interview not to be critical of Jacques regarding the Danica incident. It was Max who caused that to happen.

    But, these are facts that people pretend to overlook to make a point. Another victory of emotion over reason?

    Anyway, I like all 3. Wish they hadn’t gotten together on the last lap but that’s racing. Especially in a late race restart.

    I’d also like to express my pleasant surprise at how well Danica drove. She was hanging with the best of them.

  14. Pete Says:
    June 26th, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Yes I agree with the pro comments for Jacques ok over drove made a mistake with Danica but nothing worthy of a penalty from NASCAR. Cant say he is crap driver he does 2 events a year always qualifies in top 6 and leads in cars that are said to be so tough to drive!

  15. Michael in SoCal Says:
    June 26th, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I’m guessing Danica will remember this past weekend when the NW series races at Watkins Glen & Montreal. She might have to wait in line to dish out the payback though.