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Notes: Villeneuve the next Montoya?
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.Now that Juan Pablo Montoya has opened the door for former Formula One drivers to make the jump to NASCAR, it appears that Jacques Villeneuve will be the next to cross the pond.
Hammond on Villeneuve
The Montreal Journal reported that Villeneuve, 35, could be in a stock car as early as Aug. 4 when the Busch Series debuts at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal. The next obvious question: what team? Last year, it appeared that Roush Racing was hot and heavy over the 1997 F1 champ, but the Ford camp currently has no room on its roster. At the Dodge Motorsports dinner Monday night, race director Mike Accavitti said that none of the owners in his camp had approached him about Villeneuve. And reps from Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Ginn Racing all said there were no plans for Villeneuve to join future rosters although one engineer added "even with a $20 million budget it would be virtually impossible to compete at the Cup level as a start up team." That begs the question as to whether Villeneuve would buy his way into the Cup Series. Certainly, at the Craftsman Truck and Busch Series level, the practice is exercised rather frequently, but inside the top 35 in Cup points "buy rides" are not the norm. The teams at the top have their pick of what drivers fill the seats.