Jenson Button says family environment, road courses hooked him on trying NASCAR Jordan Jarvis knows how tough it is to blaze a new trail in SuperMotocross

Jenson Button got it his NASCAR debut may come with an “inferior category” (to use the polished and delightful European jargon of an eloquent Brit who has spent his whole life racing overseas).

Of course, the 2009 Formula One champion’s participation in stock cars – racing cars that are twice as heavy and much less responsive than his assistant – should be in the Camping World Truck series, or perhaps the Xfinity series.

But when he spoke to a Mobil 1 executive late last summer, the Cup Series suddenly became a real possibility.

“I told him, ‘I’d like to get into NASCAR’ and I was thinking about more truck series, the Xfinity series,” Button said during a Zoom press conference Friday morning with reporters from around the world. “And he’s like, ‘Really? Let me make some calls. And then we had a lot of texts. And he thinks we could make it possible. And I was so cool. And then there was Abu Dhabi, the last F1 race of the season, when we had a good talk and said we could do it. And he said that we want to do more than one race because it’s better for us and it’s also better for you.

“We discussed, but there was no team to talk to yet, and this happened this year. We spoke to Stewart-Haas and Rick Ware Racing and tried to figure out how it would work and if it would work. Can we get the car on time and build a race car. Everything happened very quickly, as everything turned out, and I’m a Cup Series driver! So it was a fun couple of months, but it was very difficult to get the car ready for Austin.”

Race March 26 at the Circuit of the Americas. was announced on Thursday as a debut for Button, who will also be racing in Chicago and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The number 15 Ford Mustang will be presented by Rick Ware Racing in partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing, which has a longstanding relationship with sponsor Mobil 1.

Schedule also makes sense for a variety of reasons. Button will be one of 40 rookies in Chicago (where the first street race in NASCAR Cup Series history is to take place). He also has F1 experience at COTA and the IMS road circuit (she was chosen because his car wasn’t ready a week before Watkins Glen International, where 2007 F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen debuted last year) .

Although he became fascinated with watching Days of Thunder stock cars at the age of 8, it was NASCAR’s move to highway circuits (several have been added over the past few years) that led Button to believe he could race.

“I thought it was crazy,” Button said as he watched Tom Cruise’s car from 1990. — The worlds are far from European motorsport. It made me love NASCAR. It’s so different from what I’m used to that it probably stopped me from asking if I could race NASCAR because it’s so different from anything I’ve driven before. Then it was more ovals, no street courses. It didn’t really excite me because it’s a different set of skills. Now there are more road courses. It’s definitely more enticing. I think I would be more competitive. I watch races and I see newbies with road racing experience and it’s not easy for them. It is very difficult. But I think that’s part of the problem and that’s why I’m excited about it.”

Over the past five years, NASCAR has raced at the new road circuit with COTA, IMS, Road America, Daytona International Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway. Many of the courses are familiar to casual hobbyists and drivers from other series who are less accustomed to ovals.

“I looked at NASCAR as super cool, but I can’t really relate to it because it’s so different,” Button said. “I think because we now have more road courses and now you see cars on the road courses and they look like a handful. The racing is amazing, but it’s really cool to watch them. I think 10-15 years ago you had some good guys on the road. A lot of them haven’t raced on the road, so it would be like jumping into the Daytona 500 on the oval. I think this has changed over time. Now you look at the grid in the Cup, they are all super talented on ovals and road courses. It added excitement for the people watching. You see Kimi (Le Mans winner) Joey Hand and you see he’s really competitive. It makes you think, “Oh, that’s cool.” You get even more excitement and interest in the sport because there is such a high level of talent.”

Button also gained a new level of experience by joining the Garage 56 team alongside Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller. Hendrick Motorsports’ Chevrolet Camaro was tested at Daytona, Sebring International Raceway and COTA, giving Button a new level of confidence that he could drive the next generation car in race conditions (although the Cup car is much heavier and slower with less downforce).

Johnson has also been a guiding light for Button, who counts the seven-time Cup champion as a longtime friend.

“Jimmy was very helpful,” Button said. “Not only that, but also Garage 56. He has been driving production cars all his life. We all know how difficult it is to switch from a car with open wheels and high downforce to a production car and vice versa. Jimmy showed that the last couple of years. It’s hard. I think he did a damn good job (with IndyCar for the last two years). It just goes to show how complex and different it is. He really helped.

I also spent a lot of time yesterday with the team get used to the feel of the car. This is such an important thing. I can’t sit up straight with the steering wheel in my lap. I need to sit back a bit, like in a single-seat car. And we found a job that suits me. If I have it, I will feel the car better and deal with it faster.

“But the biggest contact in the last four or five months has been Jimmy because we’ve been working together quite a bit on Garage 56, which is obviously very different. The Cup car is 8 seconds faster than the lap. But we did three tests and were together all three. I think Jimmy was the best and I said to him, “What do you think (of going to the Cup)? Should I do it?” and he said that you should definitely do it. You will have a blast. Everything is fine. I’m done. I’m in, so if Jimmy thinks it’s going to be fun, then it’s going to be fun.”

Inspired by stories of Johnson’s daughters having fun on the track, Button plans to bring his wife and two kids to COTA and said the “family atmosphere” really drew me to NASCAR.

“I don’t want to be negative about Formula 1 because it’s an amazing sport,” said Button, who lives in the Los Angeles area. “I’m a Formula 1 world champion, so I’ve spent most of my life there. But you are so focused. Your family doesn’t go to races because your teams don’t really want them there because they know your attention is so important. It’s very hard because it’s your life. This is all. Everything you do is for Formula 1. I did it for 17 years in this world where you forget about everything else. All that matters is to make you the best driver and Formula 1 driver.

“So when you go beyond that, I’m interested in doing other things. NASCAR has a much more relaxed atmosphere. Racing is very serious. And these are some of the best racers in the world, but the atmosphere outside the car and on the track is a much more relaxed and family category. That’s why we like him, because he tries something different. We’ve been doing the same thing over the years, so it’s great to go and try something different.”

When things go wrong, sometimes things seem to get worse, and that’s how supermotocross rider Jordan Jarvis spent the weekend at Daytona International Speedway.

Jordan Jarvis has made a splash in motocross and wants the same in the stadium series. – Feld Motor Sports

After becoming the only female driver to take part in the 2023 Ricky Carmichael-designed Supercross track at Daytona International Speedway, Jarvis started the weekend with high hopes, even though she had only been able to train for Supercross since mid-October. unlike the top riders who have been training since October and have been racing for the past eight weeks.

Luck won’t be on her side this weekend. The burden of preparation fell on her shoulders.

During media day for the Daytona Supercross race, Jarvis made a mistake during a small jump when she missed the rear brake pedal and she was sent to the ground. Deciding in a split second, she clenched her hands, and the impact of the fall reverberated through the lower half of her arm and elbow.

Not wanting to leave, Jarvis checked in with the Alpine Stars medical team ahead of Saturday’s free practice, checked in, took ibuprofen, and hit the track. But the writing was on the wall before she made her first jump, as her father had to help her zip up her suit.

“When it happened,” Jarvis told NBC Sports, “I knew it wasn’t going to work. And when I flew ahead of the group…


Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker