Friday, February 15, 2008

NASCAR Goes Hollywood

The 50th anniversary running of stock car's biggest race - the Daytona 500 - is this Sunday, so today's USA Today devotes a lot of coverage to . . . a rookie driver's wife? To be fair, the "rookie" is last year's Indy 500 and IRL champ Dario Franchitti and his wife is actress Ashley Judd, so they are a little higher profile than most. Dario is one of another handful of drivers fleeing the sinking ship that is American open-wheel racing.

While Dario and Ashley have their own cachet, the more intriguing rookie to me Jacques Villeneuve. In addition to being French-Canadian (though not, sadly, sponsored by Perrier) and, thus, not particularly typical NASCAR stock, he's a former Indy 500, CART, and Formula 1 champ. He's easily one of the most accomplished open wheel drivers North America has produced. It will be interested to see how he adapts to the NASCAR world.

Boring anecdote alert - I was actually in the same space as Dario and Ashley one time. My brother and I were in line for food at the inaugural US Grand Prix at Indianapolis underneath one of the infield grandstands. In the midst of a bunch of fans bundled up against the cold misty rain, here came this impeccably dressed couple, both wearing sunglasses. I think everybody looked, but it took a sec before we realized who they were. My brother was much more excited about meeting some guy in line who knew Road & Track writer Peter Egan. Told you it was boring!

1 comment:

Juanuchis said...

Jacques takes his place with his friend Montoya, who I think had a part in bring JV over. It'll be interesting.

So will F1. At least last season with our M. Schumacher made things interesting!