Nationwide heads to Montreal
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - While the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series compete at Michigan, the Nationwide Series will make its annual trip to Canada for the road-course race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
This will be the third and final course event in Nationwide this season. Nelson Piquet Jr. won in June at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., while Carl Edwards, in his first series start this year, took the checkered flag this past Saturday at Watkins Glen, N.Y.
The 74-lap race at Montreal will of course feature its share of Canadian drivers. Patrick Carpentier, Louis-Phillipe Dumoulin, Kenny Habul, Daryl Harr, Dexter Stacey, Alex Tagliani, Jacques Villeneuve and Derek White are scheduled to compete in front of their home crowd.
Tagliani is a full-time competitor in the IndyCar Series this year. IndyCar was scheduled to compete in China for the first time this weekend, but race promoters recently canceled the event there. That allowed Tagliani to secure a ride in Turner Motorsports' No. 30 car for Montreal.
"I'm always proud to come back to Montreal and to be able to race on this fantastic road course named after one of my all-time racing heroes, Gilles Villeneuve," Tagliani said. "I really wanted to race here again, so when the opportunity presented itself with Turner Motorsports and we were no longer scheduled to be overseas (for the IndyCar race in China), I was pretty excited."
Tagliani started and finished second in last year's Nationwide race at Montreal. He led 11 laps before Marcos Ambrose passed him for the top spot following a restart with 10 laps to go. Ambrose beat him to the finish line by 1.1 seconds for the win. Ambrose is not entered in this year's event.
"Montreal has been good to me to date, and I'm hoping to better my race history here," Tagliani added.
Villeneuve is slated to drive the No. 22 Dodge for Penske Racing. The 2.71- mile, 14-turn Montreal circuit is named after his late father. He started on the pole but finished 27th in the 2011 race there.
"I feel, after winning the pole last year at Montreal, that we can have a lot of success," Villeneuve said. "A NASCAR victory is something I want."
Kyle Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. are those drivers attempting the Michigan- Montreal combo this weekend.
"One of the reasons I wanted to run this race is to win in three different countries," Busch said. "I am not sure, but I don't think any other NASCAR driver has done that before, so it would be really cool."
Busch won in Mexico City in 2008. He has yet to compete in a Nationwide race in Montreal.
Forty-four drivers are on the preliminary entry list for the NAPA Auto Parts 200.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, August 18. Race: NAPA Auto Parts 200. Site: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Track: 2.71-mile, 14-turn road course. Start time: 2:30 p.m.(ET). Laps: 74. Miles: 200.46. 2011 Winner: Marcos Ambrose. Television: ESPN. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.
08/15 21:09:37 ET