Former F1 Champion Creates History After Winning a NASCAR Race

Published 10/31/2021, 11:56 AM EDT
Sep 26, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (19) during the South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


Ever since he retired from Formula One, Jacques Villeneuve has continued racing in different fields. His latest conquest is the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, with Academy Motorsport. In the 2021 season, Villeneuve has racked up a fair number of podium finishes, including a second-place at Vallelunga, in Italy. Now, the 1997 F1 world champion has taken his first win in a NASCAR-sanctioned series.

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“Finally, it’s been a long time coming,” said Villeneuve.

“We have been fighting at the front a lot and the car was good in the race. We had a hard time in practice but in qualifying the car was really amazing. I got a penalty at the start, I’m not sure why because the rules say ‘go’ on green, so I must have missed something in the rulebook, so I’ll go check. But a good thing I jumped the start because I didn’t have the horsepower against Alon [Day], which was obvious until Turn 1.”

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How did Jacques Villeneuve win the NASCAR Euro race?

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The former F1 driver clearly had an adventurous race, as he copped an early penalty. During the rolling start, the stewards judged that he had moved ahead of pole-sitter Alon Day before the line. As a result, he got slapped with a five-second penalty. Despite that, he snatched the lead early and began pulling away from the pack.

By the time he reached the last lap, Villeneuve had built up a commanding 5.2-second lead, extending it to 6.3 seconds by the time the checkered flag waved. Meanwhile, pole man Day got punted out of the race, courtesy of championship leader Loris Hezemans. In a spot of karmic justice though, Hezemans finished 10th after a drive-through penalty.

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On an interesting note, Hezemans is aiming to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022. According to reports, he will compete in road course events for the newly-formed Team Hezeberg outfit. Additionally, once he gets approval, he will also race at other oval tracks.

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Reports: Former F1 Champion Could Compete in 2022 NASCAR Cup Series

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Dhruv George

12299 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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