Up until a few years ago, seeing a driver switch from one motorsport discipline to another was practically unheard of. A Formula One driver might compete at Le Mans, sure, but with few exceptions, that was about the extent of it. Now we've got drivers interested in switching between F1, rallying and even motorbikes in a big game of musical chairs. Once unfathomable, however, the biggest trend is a growing cadre of F1 drivers migrating to NASCAR.
Following similar moves by Juan Pablo Montoya, Jacques Villeneuve and Scott Speed, to name just a few, and rumors of Nelsinho Piquet's intended move, comes news that Toyota's Jarno Trulli (pictured above) is scheduled to test drive a stock car next month at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida. After attending a Sprint Cup race last year in Michigan, and reportedly several more to observe Montoya's progress, Trulli asked his employers at Toyota to arrange a test session for him, so they set him up with the Michael Waltrip Racing team – which races under the Toyota banner – for a two-day test in November.
Joining Trulli at the test session will reportedly be one Mika Salo, the Finnish driver who competed in F1 from 1994 to 2002. Over his career, Salo raced for Lotus, Tyrrell, Arrows, BAR, Sauber and Toyota, but his best results were a pair of podiums scored when filling in for an injured Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in 1999. Recently, he's been racing for Risi Competizione in the Le Mans Series, and took the GT2 class win at Le Mans last year, but now he's looking to switch to oval tracks.
For his part, Trulli insists the session is just for fun. But Toyota is not expected to renew his contract for next season, and he'll will be looking for another ride in F1. If he doesn't find it, he may find NASCAR a compelling option.
[Source: Autosport | Image: Kiyoshi Ota/Getty]