Defending V8 Supercars Champion Reveals Aspirations for XFINITY Start

Defending V8 Supercars Champion Reveals Aspirations for XFINITY Start

by April 13, 2016 0 comments

Defending Australian V8 Supercars champion Mark Winterbottom has revealed that he may be eyeing a one-off start in NASCAR in the near future.

Winterbottom, commonly known as ‘Frosty’, made a trip to the United States shortly as part of a convention visit for his sponsor, Australian alcohol retailer The Bottle-O.

During his time state-side, Winterbottom was to participate in the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Chicagoland Speedway as part of a company outing.

Unfortunately, due to inclement weather during his stay in Chicago, the defending champion was unable to turn laps in a stock car.

“It was the sort of trip that was really well planned – and then it rained out, started snowing and was kind of frustrating,” Winterbottom wrote in a driver diary for “On Monday after Tasmania I went over to the United States for The Bottle-O with [team owner] Rod Nash. They had a supplier’s conference, so all the big hitters of the Australian alcohol industry were there.

“The Bottle-O ran surprise activities during the day and one of them was a NASCAR drive on Wednesday. Richard Petty was bringing a heap of cars up to drive at [Chicagoland Speedway.] But when we arrived in Chicago, it was snowing – the first day, the second day and then it was pouring with rain the day we were going to drive so it got called off!

“We were gutted – that would’ve been the first time ever in the NASCAR, and it got rained out.”

Winterbottom stated that he was interested in experiencing what it was like to drive a stock car. The Sydney native also took note of the similarities and differences between a stock car and a V8 Supercar, pointing out the lack of bells and whistles on a stock car.

He also revealed that he’s held a desire to race in a one-off XFINITY Series event on a non-oval event. The XFINITY Series currently has three road courses on its schedule – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Road America and Watkins Glen International.

“I always wanted to drive one just to see what they’re like, because they’re the closest thing to what we race, and that would’ve been the easiest way to do it,” Winterbottom wrote. “On an oval is a pretty low stress way to do it, it’s not a test or anything.

“I’ve always wanted to do a Nationwide race or XFINITY on a street circuit. But when you hop in the cars and see them, they’re pretty average compared to what our cars are. They are a true stock car.”

If Winterbottom was to make a one-off start in NASCAR, he’d be the first Australian to do so since Ambrose’s departure in 2014.

Ambrose was the most successful Australian to try their hand at NASCAR, scoring seven national series wins in seven years with two of those being at the Sprint Cup level.

Other Australians to have made starts in NASCAR were Owen Kelly, Dick Johnson, Terry Byers and Tony Spanos.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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