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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Villeneuve to make Daytona 500 attempt

Jacques Villeneuve will attempt to qualify for NASCAR’s season-opening Daytona 500 next month, driving the No. 27 Ford Mustang for Team Hezeberg.

“There are a few races in the world that stand out for me – the Indy 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Daytona 500,” said Villeneuve. “It’s part of that very small group of special races that if you get the chance, try it out.”

Villeneuve ran the car earlier this week in a two-day test at Daytona International Speedway. Team Hezeberg is new to the NASCAR Cup Series in a joint effort between Toine Hezemans, Ernst Berg, and Reaume Brothers. The team plans to compete part-time, entering the road course races with Loris Hezemans the primary driver.

“It was great to be back behind the wheel of a Next Gen NASCAR at Daytona this week,” continued Villeneuve. “It really is impressive to drive. It was a good test with the new team, and although we have some work to do with the qualifying setup, we were comfortable and quick when running in the pack. The team is at the start of its journey over here, but we are working well and making progress.”

Villeneuve, who won the 1995 Indy 500 and CART title as well as the 1997 F1 world championship, has helped the team prepare for the season by testing not only in Daytona but alongside Hezemans at the Charlotte Roval in October. He has four NASCAR Cup Series starts on his resume, the most recent being in 2013 at Sonoma Raceway. Villeneuve has one superspeedway start under his belt, finishing 21st in the 2007 race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Should Villeneuve qualify for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20, it will be his first start in the race. Villeneuve made an attempt in 2008 with Bill Davis Racing, but failed to earn a spot after crashing in the qualifying race.

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