Start, NASCAR Daytona 500, 2018

Alonso says NASCAR is “attractive” as he sets October date for 2019 decision

2018 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso says he aims to announce his plans for 2019 next month and fuelled speculation of a potential appearance in NASCAR.

The two-times world champion shared a video on social media yesterday of him discussing a possible seat swap with seven-times NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

Asked whether he is considering a move into stock car racing, Alonso said it was “definitely another series that is attractive.”

“As all the motor sport series they have their good things and their bad things, their appeal sometimes. We know NASCAR is one of the great series in motor sport. Obviously I never tested the car, I have zero information about the championship, the rules. It’s a very difficult thing to judge. Let’s see what will happen there.”

Toyota, who Alonso races for in the World Endurance Championship, is also active in NASCAR. The Japanese manufacturer won last year’s championship and took Martin Truex Jnr to the driver’s title.

Alonso has set himself the target of winning motorsport’s ‘triple crown’ of races but has also spoken of wanting to achieve something unique in motor sport. This has prompted speculation he could take on NASCAR’s showpiece race, the Daytona 500.

The McLaren driver said he hasn’t put much thought into entering the February race but added he “will take it into consideration”.

“It’s one of those iconic races that definitely they are great and they are very important in motor sports there is appeal in all these kinds of event,” he said.

Fernando Alonso, IndyCar test, Barber Motorsports Park, 2018
Is Alonso now seeking a unique ‘Triple Crown of Championships’?
Alonso is still seeking a victory in the Indianapolis 500 to complete his ‘triple crown’ and last week tested an IndyCar on a road course for the first time. However he said he is still weighing his options for next year and the test will have no bearing on his decision.

“It’s not only what appeal to me, it’s also what are the best things in motorsport. Some of them they are not maybe ready or I’m not prepared to do those things.

“So I need to consider how much preparation, how much dedication I need to put into those new things to be ready and competitive. If I feel I can be ready and competitive I’ll set the challenge, if I see it’s too difficult I will postpone the challenge for later on. But it’s something that I need to consider in a wider range.”

“I’m checking a couple of things and hopefully by October, in one month time, I hope to get everything done and say to you,” he added.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Alonso says NASCAR is “attractive” as he sets October date for 2019 decision”

  1. a shame the daytona 500 is more about luck than driver skill since the introduction of restrictor plates made it easy flat all the way round with the silly pack racing.

    you can be the fastest driver in the best car and still get shuffled to the back if your in the wrong lane with slower drivers in worse cars been pushed forward if there in the right lane at the right time with the right driver behind them.

    that sort of thing isn’t a proper race its a lottery based more on luck than skill, especially when you have the big one to consider, a wreck that you can get involved in purely by chance left with zero opportunity to avoid it due to the pack racing artificially keeping everyone bunched together.

    pre restrictor plate it used to be much more about skill with drivers having to work the throttle and use the draft to slingshot past much more like you see in indycar racing today.

    1. The actual skill here is positioning the car and understanding the aerodynamics of the pack. But, as an exhibition of skill, I’d rather watch the Great British Bake Off.

      1. @dmw – Mad skills required for profiteroles, a Battenberg or Cornish Pasties…

    2. There’s definitely a lot of skill in restrictor plate racing. That said, you definitely need luck to win. Some of the wrecks can’t be avoided by driver skill, which is why I’m not a massive fan of Alonso taking part.

  2. Maybe Alonso could ring up JPM for some NASCAR advice. *cough…cough*

    Also, have an expert explain to him all the rules of NASCAR several times over and over, especially the chase or playoffs or whatever, and then just shake his head and give up like the rest of us.

  3. I watch every category where Alonso race, but this is where I draw the line. I really hope he doesn’t do it. Maybe one race for fun, but nothing more. NASCAR is a a rubbish-show. I have massive respect for drivers in Indy, consumate athletes, I’m sure a lot of them could be competitive in F1. But NASCAR? That’s as contrived and boorish form of professional racing as I’ve ever seen. As mentioned above by @PeterRogers I think the most abhorrent part of it is the “lottery” aspect of the racing. The rules introduce a significant artificial amount of randomness. The organizers probably think it’s exciting, and likely the mates tailgating who are half-drunk too. But I find it to be far beneath a top driver like Alonso. Again, if it’s one race I’ll watch, it would be fun. But not a season.

    1. Hopefully he doesn’t do something boring like Daytona, but it would be fun to see him wheel one of those heavy, terrible cars around Watkins Glen or Sonoma!

    2. @ajpennypacker that’s just restrictor plate racing. Actually if 5 drivers win in F1 it’s about the same ratio as if 11-12 drivers win in NASCAR. Anyway, I wouldn’t want to see Alonso racing at Daytona and only Daytona. If he wanted to play at NASCAR then hopefully he’ll jump in for the whole season and not a one or two race schedule like Kimi did when he raced NASCAR.

  4. No . . . . . . just NO

  5. I wonder how attractive he’ll be to these other championships when he is ex-F1 driver Fernando Alonso. Might be harder to get a competitive drive in a top series after a year or two messing around in NASCAR and the rest of the motorsport world have turned their attentions elsewhere.

    1. Didn’t hurt Kimi, did it?

  6. He’s been clever there with his response but reading between the lines, he’s basically saying “no” in a nice way that doesn’t burn any bridges.

  7. Alonso had a pretty strong opinion about racing NASCAR earlier this year.
    (Also, speaks to the skill and talent of NASCAR drivers.)

  8. As far as Jimmy goes, nothing will happen as he is too old to run an F1 race.

    But I now believe Alonso will run the Daytona 500 in February. NASCAR has made it clear they would love to have him run the 500 and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it would bring hundreds of thousands of race fans (NASCAR, F1, Indy etc.) to their TV sets. Obviously only one race though, not the series. NASCAR needs a boost if only for one race!

    He has nothing to lose and everything to gain by running Daytona. His popularity in the US is already high due to F1 and Indy – if he runs NASCAR he can only become a bigger star. Which leads to the reason he would race Daytona – grow his Kimoa brand. The US is most likely his most potentially lucrative market.

    Mario raced there and won. They are close and I’m sure Mario would encourage him to do it. I would like to see it and I have to give him credit if he does.

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