Villeneuve and Montoya close in on closed wheels

As the 2006 NASCAR season comes to an end, the parallel sagas of our two former F1 drivers moving to stock cars drive on.

After talks between Jacques Villeneuve and Roush Racing came to an all but full and complete stop, the former world champion is apparently gearing up to drive under his own banner instead. Roush isn't entirely out of the picture, though, as the new team would use their machinery for the 2007 season. JV is tipped to be working with his manager Craig Pollock to put the deal together.

Meanwhile, McLaren refugee Juan Pablo Montoya has taken a big step towards NASCAR and another two back. Before the end of the 2006 season, after practicing in lower series, Montoya made his Nextel Cup debut at the season closer at the Homestead speedway in Florida. Close qualifying placed him a somewhat respectable 29 out of 43, with his team-mates in the Ganassi cars qualifying 11, 23 and 39. The race itself went worse, though, as JP crashed in the final laps of the race after having climbed to an admirable 13th place. Not bad for a rookie, but you've got to finish the race to win, and coming down from the pinnacle of motorsports, Juan Pablo is hardly a rookie.

One thing's for sure: more F1 fans (like this writer) will be keeping an eye on the stock car scene to see how Jacques and Juan Pablo fare as they try to make the jump from champagne to moonshine. Bottoms up, boys!


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