Valentino Rossi Takes a NASCAR Test Drive

04/23/2013 @ 11:31 am, by Jensen Beeler27 COMMENTS


Any loyal Valentino Rossi fan knows that The Doctor is an avid four-wheel driver. Testing everything from Rally to Formula 1, many think that Rossi will go to the four-wheel world after his time in the two-wheeled world is done. Which series that could be is up for contention (we very much doubt it will be in the Australia V8 cars though), though the name NASCAR might have to be added to the list.

Fresh off Sunday’s Grand Prix of the Americas, Monster Energy gave Rossi a chance to lap with Kyle Busch’s 650hp Toyota race car at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. Though Rossi started out slow, he ultimately set some impressive numbers (what would have been a Top 15 in the Nationwide Series practice at Charlotte). Of course, it helps when you have the one of the most successful NASCAR drivers in the series giving you track notes and talking in your ear over the radio.

“It was so cool to understand the feeling!” said Rossi. “I have a lot of friends from Europe and Italy who follow NASCAR. It looks like it’s a completely different type of racing than what we do in Europe and I expected something more like this – exciting, high speed and a great feeling in the corner. In the bank you have a lot of grip, so you are glued on the racetrack. It was great, I enjoyed it a lot. I love driving the race car, and I always have, so it was exciting to drive a NASCAR.”

“At the beginning it was a bit strange because it’s difficult to go straight. But after some laps, I had a lot of confidence and I was able to go faster and faster and faster. I must say I got along very well with Kyle. He’s a good guy. I like him and he gave me a lot of important advice.”

“I thought it was a really cool experience and it also helps when you have two guys who are enthusiastic about their sport and have a good mantra about it,” said Busch. “I think Rossi is a really cool dude. We were just having fun, hanging out together. To me, I thought the experience was awesome. It’s cool Monster Energy brought us together, it was a lot of fun. Just getting the feeling of asking him about his sport and him asking me about NASCAR a little bit. Just having the dialogue there was good.”

“And as far as driving the car, I thought he did pretty good. He started out a little slow, which is fine, but every lap he picked it up a lot. He got to where he was running some competitive lap speeds – times that would put him in the top-15 in Nationwide Series practice,” added Busch. “That’s pretty good for a guy in his first start, who is just coming over and getting used to things and someone that is used to driving on two wheels.”










Source: Monster Energy

  • Reg Kittrelle

    “winningest NASCAR driver in history”
    Not even close.

  • Dan

    Does Kyle even know who Valentino is?

  • Michael

    “I have a lot of friends from Europe and Italy who follow NASCAR.”

    Doubt it. If they do follow it, it’s only to make fun of it probably. I can’t even stand 5 laps of a NASCAR race.

  • G

    Am I the only one who can’t read Valentino quotes without reading it to myself in a funny Italian accent and imagining “errr” before every sentence? haha

    Where is that video press interview?

    “Di toyota, she is errrr bery tyte. She no errrrr, want to go streit but, errr bery bery fun! I like!”

  • AJ

    track notes hmm…
    “There’s a left hander coming up….once you’re done with it, just keep left”

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    Haha track notes!

    NASCAR isn’t sport, it’s pretend. Put another way, Ricky Bobby was real. NASCAR isn’t a joke unless people think its real… Like WWF (E?) wrestling

  • Gutterslob

    Sounds like a Monster Energy PR stunt. At least Rossi fakes a smile better than this Busch fella.

    I suppose driving a stock car on skinny tyres brings its own set of challenges (like getting Rosanne Barr to run in high-heels) and requires a specific skill-set. I often hear of Indycar drivers struggling in Nascar, just like I hear about Nascar drivers struggling in open-wheelers.

    Wait!! … Toyota in Nascar?
    I thought rednecks liked everything inbred.

  • Wow, kids. Five hundred miles of left turns might not be one’s cuppa, but banging fenders 3-abreast at 300 kph is genuine racing. To suggest otherwise is just nonsense.

    “I often hear of Indycar drivers struggling in Nascar, just like I hear about Nascar drivers struggling in open-wheelers.”

    The skill sets don’t exactly correlate. NASCAR has a whole different set of dynamics happening with walls, banking and drafting in insanely close quarters. The Indy guys get to play with completely different downforce dynamics. And the rules of engagement for bodywork versus open wheels are completely different. Banging fenders is cool beans. Banging wheels less so.

    It’s impressive that Rossi got up to speed so quickly in that car. It’s a completely different animal than he’s used to driving.

  • Damo


    I think NASCAR is boring as hell too, but believe it or not NASCAR viewership is on the rise in Europe.

    I know, I don’t get it either.

  • Kevin White

    I’d like to say that NASCAR is harmless (like pro wrestling) but it’s not. Its gravity is huge and it sucks attention and resources and money away from actual racing.

    Imagine if pro wrestling was the biggest sport in the country and the NFL and MLB were hardly on the radar because most of the shlubs in the audience just watched pro wrestling and that was enough for them. That’s reality in racing…

  • Mike Hunt

    wow, clueless assholes in A&R today…per usual.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels


    I think it’s fair to be critical of NASCAR for what it is-a total joke.

    It was never my cup of tea, but back when it was a regional sensation, maybe 40 years ago, it was actually real racing.

    People who respect motorsports see NASCAR for what it is–entertainment. It caters to those who don’t really care about motorsports. It caters to those who only want beer, noise, and a crowd of people.

    NASCAR did a deal with the devil to gather up all the last known living brain doners as their fan base. That brought in sponsors, which brought TV deals, which now funds their circus. Unfortunately, that’s all it is now.

    My God man, do tell me what part of these cars are “stock.” Joke!

    And the whole “tradin’ paint” and drafting to “help” somebody? Joke!

    If somebody is in the lead or in front of you just crash them out. No consequences. Joke!

    The umpteen re-starts. Joke!

    And then I love how when they actually do take on a circuit like Infineon they bring in the “ringer” drivers. haha!! sheeze, Joke!!

    So, enough with the kings new clothes. It IS time people speak up and call out NASCAR as the joke it is.

  • rt

    lol ‘MIKEHUNT’

  • Mike Hunt

    @ rt…somebody gets it, just not the euro’s.

  • Mike Hunt

    no cars/motorcycles in any form of motorsport are “stock” Fact!

    drafting is something that is used in all forms of asphalt (tarmac) motorsport. Fact!

    you cannot intentionally wreck someone and not be penalized, it will be either a drive-through or time penalty. Fact!

    the umpteen cautions. Joke!

    the so called “ringers” have never one a race at Sonoma or Watkins Glen, the last “ringer” to win a road course race in NASCAR was Mark Donohue at Riverside in 1973! Fact!

    -but hey there is all that great passing and racing in F1 where the team makes the call and gets pissed if you actually pass for the win.

  • Mike Hunt


  • Chaz Michael Michaels


    Umm, MotoGP is prototypes. No? homologation rules for WSB? No?

    Who said anything about F1? I’m talking all racing that’s not NASCAR. CART was ok, then it becamse Indycar then it became I don’t know what. Riding around in circles pretending to race each other isn’t racing.

    I’m saying even the cars in NASCAR are dopey. Pretend car bodies over massive roll cages. There are weight restrictions and some sort of formula in there somewhere but the cars are based on nothing. So, nope, not “stock.”

    Drafting to “help” the other guy? In what other series’ are drivers helping other drivers lap by lap? Oh, I forgot, Pedrosa was letting Marquez draft off him to “help” him. Pedrosa was like “you should take this one Marc.” Lorenzo caught wind of this (hee hee) and traded some paint. They all crashed and did a restart. This happened like 10 times over the course of the race. In the end, Marquez won by a hair and did a backflip off his bike and showered everyone with diet Dew.

    It’s all good though. At Jerez the ringers will fill the field. Ya, I know the ringers never win but they’re better than the regular riders.

    C’mon man, you know these scenarios are ridiculous.

  • “but hey there is all that great passing and racing in F1 where the team makes the call and gets pissed if you actually pass for the win.”

    Sunday’s F1 race in Bahrain was a showcase of incredible driving and there was GREAT racing/passing all through the field. Jenson vs. Checo (both McLaren) was a great battle, with the upstart driver coming out on top (albeit with some questionable judgment, which was no doubt covered at length in the post-race debrief).

    Anyway, it’s all noise. The article is about Rossi driving. And that’s what matters. After all, if it’s got wheels and an engine, Vale can make it go fast.

  • Mike Hunt

    cool, so there has been one maybe two good GPs out of for, good on ya.

  • Mike Hunt


  • Kevin White

    I just love when I hear how close the NASCAR race was. Yes, but:

    1. there was a caution with three laps to go (on top of the previous fifteen cautions) to ensure that “close finish”

    2. I think 34 out of 36 times it’s a mega-oval or tri-oval superspeedway, and at some of those they run those restrictor plates to try and increase parity over the already suffocating similarities of the cars

    3. it wasn’t close if there was any sort of moisture on the track, because apparently these cars are incompatible with rain tires and no one knows how to drive in anything other than dry

  • Gutterslob

    Do Nascars still run on carburettors? If that’s the case, then they’re below stock, aren’t they?

  • David

    I bet if you put Bush on a Moto 2 bike he could do top 15 lap times also.

    Oh wait…….never mind……


  • Mike Hunt

    fuel injection.

    everyone knows its safe to continue to race at 175mph+ with wrecked cars and fluid on the track, cautions are useless and manufactured.

    its not safe nor feasible to run oval races in the rain. on the off chance it does rain at Sonoma or Watkins Glen NASCAR has rain tires.

    NASCAR only runs restrictor plates at Talladega and Daytona so 4 races out of 36, but 34 was a close number. the whole point of the plates is to cut horsepower in half from 900 to about 450. lord knows it would be a good idea to have 43 cars with 900hp in a pack less than 2 seconds a part turning agv. laps at above 215mph. that’s safe for both drivers and fans alike.

    great argument Dave, take someone who has never ridden, much less raced motorcycles their entire life and see if they can crack the top15 in the most competitive motorcycle racing championship in the world. (moto 2)

    and on the other hand take someone who has vast experience in many forms of four-wheel racing and has shown extreme natural ability to drive cars fast beforehand. think Ferrari F1 test, battle with Sebastian Loeb @ Monza Rally Show, racing a Ferrari 458 GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series…etc.

    Kyle Busch is one of the most talented drivers in the world, sorry his chosen and highly-lucrative profession is NASCAR. Valentino Rossi is the most talented motorcycle racer, in history. and Monster Energy is really smart.

    off topic who you haters got for WorldSBK @ Assen?

    Im looking for Johnny Rea to get at least one race win, with Marco getting the other — Chaz is making him look bad, early. unless it rains, then its Sylvain and Tom.

    Supersport I look for the surprise of the season Michael van der Mark to get his first career WSS victory in Ten Kate’s backyard. and hope Jack Kennedy and Luca Scassa can keep things rolling.

    Sylvain Barrier is going to dust the field in Superstock 1000, I look for him to do what Ayrton Badovini couldn’t do in 2010 — win every race in the championship.

    Superstock 600 could be a little tricky, but gonna go on a limb with Tony Covena at home followed closely by Bastien Chesaux. my surprise, (hopefully) is wildcard Rob Hartog.

  • FernandoARG

    I’m sure the winingest term was used as the one that has the most followers, most wins of contemporary Motorsports, as in this Motorsport is widely and more accepted around the world, other than Travis Pastrana, Valentino is one of the most successful drivers in the world to drive a NASCAR car. Just a thought.

  • Faust

    @Mike Hunt

    I understand what you’re saying, and why you would take issue with the blatantly stupid comments of certain people (who make blatantly stupid comments on just about every story on here). Aside from that, you have to admit that NASCAR is pretty lame. Here’s my issues:

    They call it stock car racing, and the cars are supposed to represent cars that are actually commercially available (Camry, Fusion, etc). These cars are all virtually identical, and other than decals have nothing to do with the vehicles they are based on. As a comparision with motorcycle racing, you are correct in pointing out that the bikes aren’t “stock”, but the GP Prototype bikes are billed as just that, prototypes. The Repsol Hondas don’t pretend that they are CBR1000RRs. In contrast there are plenty of production based racing classes (AMA, BSB, SBK) where the bikes DO have plenty in common with their production counterparts (especially in STK). For example, in WSS the bikes have the same chassis, engine, fuel system, brake calipers, master cylinder, etc as the production bikes you can buy. Compare this to a NASCAR that has a 650HP, full tube chassis car that has a Camry sticker on the front…. I mean, you can defend that if you want to, but it’s absolutely ridiculous to call that car a Camry.

    As a form of racing cars go, you can’t honestly tell me that it’s anywhere near the clash between rival manufacturers as rally, Le Mans, WTCC, BTCC, or DTM. People like to root for their favorite manufacturers and they just don’t have that aspect with NASCAR because the cars are basically the same. With bike racing, the bikes are so different in aspects like chassis design, engine layout and configuration (remember Yamaha’s 5 valve engines? Or Honda’s old 990 V5?), swingarm, aerodynamics, etc. In NASCAR, don;t they have a aerodynamic template that cars have to conform to? How does that encourage innovation by the manufacturer?

    Bottom line is, if you enjoy NASCAR, then watch it. But seriously, don’t try to argue that it’s an equal to or more valid form of motorsport than actual racing. It’s a bunch of guys going in a circle while pretending they are driving a Ford Fusion. Laughable. Then when you ask them how the race went, they say “well the So And So Tools, Who Gives a Damn Beer Company, Redneck Brand Beverage, Generic Car Battery Company, Toyota Family Car was running great today!”. In motorcycle racing a Casey Stoner can come and go, and people still love the bike teams and companies that make them. In NASCAR, it’s some quasi-celebrity status that is all about the drivers, because people can’t even tell the difference between the cars!

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    @faust. Well done…though I’m not seeing too many blatantly stupid comments in response to this story or elsewhere.

    For “blatantly stupid” go no futher than somebody checking in as “Mike Hunt.” Possibly he should be checking in as “Jack Huff.”