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Former Indy 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve makes NASCAR Brickyard 400 field

July 24, 2010 | 12:31 pm

JacguesJacques Villeneuve, 39, made a successful return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday when he qualified -- barely -- for the NASCAR Brickyard 400 stock-car race.

  The Canadian driver, who won the Indianapolis 500 in Indy-style race cars in 1995, will start last in the 43-car field in Sunday's race after qualifying his No. 32 Braun Racing Toyota at 177.466 mph.

"I am very exited," said Villeneuve, who also won a Formula One championship in 1997. "It was very stressful because we didn't get a lot of [practice] laps. And I hadn't been in a Cup car in over two years."

Villenueve's qualifying speed was nearly 5 mph slower than the one posted by pole-sitter Juan Pablo Montoya, another former Indy 500 winner and Formula One driver.

Even so, "it was quick enough to get enough to get in the show," Villeneuve said.

-- Jim Peltz in Indianapolis

Photo: Jacques Villeneuve on pit road Saturday during qualifying for the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Credit: Jerry Markland / Getty Images