News & Media


Road aces recall memorable race at Road America

June 22, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com

Jacques Villeneuve has four top-10s in seven Nationwide Series starts, all on road courses. (Getty Images)

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Road-course specialists Max Papis, Jacques Villeneuve and Ron Fellows all had memorable races at Road America last year, which ended with three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish. On the first try, Villeneuve tried going inside on Turn 1 but ran out of track and caused Papis and a fellow driver to wreck.

Fellows and eventual race winner Reed Sorenson were involved in some drama on the third and final attempt, as well. Aric Almirola caused the seventh and final caution when he ran out of gas in Turn 6 and eventually it was ruled by NASCAR that Fellows passed Sorenson after the caution was issued, giving Sorenson the win.

* Video: Papis, Villeneuve make mistakes | Villeneuve wrecks Papis | Fellows battles Sorenson

Most of the questions during the news conference revolved around what could happen at Turn 1 if the race went like last year with an overtime finish. Fellows wasn't shy about what he predicted.

"There is going to be chaos if it goes green-white-checker," Fellows said.

Turn 1 is nearly a 90-degree right-hander and a great opportunity for a driver to move up a couple of spots. As seen last year, however, it can also turn into a big mess if a driver is overaggressive.

"We had, ultimately, quite a good weekend even though the end of the race was a little bit too exciting," said Villeneuve, who managed a third-place finish. "It's a great team and everybody is coming here to get a good result. The plan is to keep my nose clean for the race."

With a second-place finish last year, Fellows knows what he needs to do in order to take the checkered flag this time around.

"We ran ourselves out of time," Fellows said of last year's effort. "We got killed on the restarts and have to have something saved for the end."

Villeneuve had the fastest time in Friday's first practice session with a lap speed of 109.107 mph. Rounding out the top five from the morning session were Nelson Piquet Jr. (108.581 mph), Papis (107.763 mph), Michael McDowell (107.502 mph) and Fellows (107.374 mph).

The afternoon practice run saw plenty of familiar faces. Papis topped the speed charts at 109.282 mph, followed by McDowell (108.026 mph), Piquet (107.868 mph), Villeneuve (107.853 mph) and Sam Hornish Jr. (107.180 mph).

* Speeds: Practice 1 | Practice 2