Jacques Villeneuve, winner of the 1995 Indianapolis 500 and 1997 Formula 1 World Driving Championship, will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut in the Smith's Las Vegas 350 Saturday, Sept. 22, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The 36-year-old native of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Québec, Canada, tested Monday and tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway in a Toyota Tundra owned by Bill Davis Racing of High Point, N.C. He will enter the final seven races on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule, beginning with Las Vegas next month. In 2008, his plans are to step up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Jacques' black truck carries the No. 27, which also was the number of his legendary father, the late Gilles Villeneuve, and the numeral which adorned his car during his Indy 500 victory.

His second day of testing, orchestrated by veteran crew chief James "Slugger" Labbe and former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike Skinner, seemed to go well.

"It feels more natural, going into the corners, which makes driving easier," said Villeneuve. "I'm more comfortable in the truck so getting up to speed is easier.

Reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was polled today about the wave of drivers coming to NASCAR from other countries and series.

"I think it shows our sport is being respected on a worldwide scale," said Johnson. "It's unclear what Jacques will bring, but it can't hurt. Our sport (NASCAR) is focused on competition and entertainment, while Formula 1 is focused on technology. It will take (him) some time to adjust."

Adjusting does not seem to be an issue with Villeneuve. In his rookie year in the IndyCar Series, he won his first race in just his 14th start and one year later won the venerated Indianapolis 500 and the championship. In 1996, just one year after his Indy 500 victory, he graduated to the F1 series and won four races. In 1997, his sophomore F1 year, he scored seven wins (including one at the circuit named after his father in Quebec) and secured the title.

"After racing in Europe, I've missed the ovals," said Jacques. "I started thinking about NASCAR a few years ago. I needed to do something different and at an extremely high level and that's what NASCAR is. This is very exciting and different, something I have never done before."

Tickets for the Smith's Las Vegas 350 may be purchased by calling the LVMS ticket office at (702) 644-444 or online at www.LVMS.com.

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