NASCAR Notes: Villeneuve looks to change reputation at Sonoma - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

NASCAR Notes: Villeneuve looks to change reputation at Sonoma

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Villeneuve looks to change reputation at Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif. (AP) -
Jacques Villeneuve returned to NASCAR for Sunday's race at Sonoma and brought his less than stellar reputation with him.

He's a former Formula One world champion and an Indianapolis 500 winner, but his sparkling resume has been shredded through nine eventful Nationwide races. Asked Friday what comes to mind about Villeneuve, defending race winner Clint Bowyer called him a "train wreck."

History didn't matter to Phoenix Racing owner James Finch, who wanted a wheelman for the No. 51 Chevrolet this weekend. The car had a shot to win last year when Kurt Busch drove it to a third-place finish, and Finch thinks Villeneuve can deliver a strong result.

Villeneuve says his goal is to run a clean race and not make anyone angry.

Montoya looking for big finish at Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif. (AP) -
Juan Pablo Montoya goes to Sonoma Raceway every year under heavy pressure to win.

But as he inches closer and closer to finally winning on an oval track, the annual stop at the 1.99-mile road course has become less stressful.

Still, Montoya said he's excited for Sunday's race because it's an opportunity to contend for the win and collect some sorely needed points. He arrived at Sonoma ranked 22nd in the standings having made a slow climb behind stronger finishes.

He's raced for the win twice in the last eight races, only to lose on the final restarts at Richmond and Dover.

Montoya says he's starving for a victory, but more importantly wants to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field.

NASCAR's Piquet frustrated with progress
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) -
Nelson Piquet Jr. is back at the scene of his biggest NASCAR moment. But a year after his breakthrough win in the Nationwide race at Road America, he's still trying to find his footing on the next rung up the ladder.

Piquet, the first Brazilian to win a race in one of NASCAR's major national series and the son of a three-time Formula One champion, hoped to use his 2012 Road America victory as a springboard to success as a full-time driver in Nationwide this year. So far, Piquet says he's "frustrated" with team chemistry issues that have led to mixed results on the track.

Piquet and the rest of the field could face an additional challenge in Saturday's race: Rain is in the forecast, leading to the possibility of racing in wet conditions on grooved tires -- something that is fairly common in other forms of racing, but almost unheard-of in NASCAR.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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