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Brazilian IndyCar drivers trying stock car racing
Castroneves owned a team in the series in 2004 and is not completely inexperienced when it comes to stock car racing. He participated in the V8 Supercar series in Australia in the past, as well as in the American Le Mans Series in the United States.
Other Brazilians with a past in IndyCars are also experimenting at Brazil’s top racing series this season. Raphael Matos made his debut in Brasilia with a 23rd-place finish, and Vitor Meira, who went from IndyCar to stock cars in the beginning of the year, was 17th in Brasilia. He is 22nd in the 35-driver standings.
The final race of the stock car season in Brazil attracts widespread attention because it awards 1 million reals (about $500,000) to the winner. It is broadcast live by the country’s top TV channel. F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve raced in the event last year, finishing 18th.
Former F1 drivers Luciano Burti, Antonio Pizzonia and Ricardo zonta, as well as former Champ Car driver Max Wilson, who won the race in Brasilia, have been racing in the series for some time.
NASCAR has attracted many open-wheel drivers in the past too, but most with limited success. Among those who have made the change to stock cars in the United States are Danica Patrick, Sam Hornish Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti, Robby Gordon, Patrick Carpentier, A.J. Allmendinger, Kimi Raikkonen and Villeneuve.
Those who had the most success include Tony Stewart and racing legends Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt.
Among the Brazilians who tried the move to NASCAR are former Formula 1 drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet Jr., who this year has won races both at the Nationwide Series and at the Truck Series, where he is a full-time driver.
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By Tom Fitton
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