RACING

Kvyat enjoys ‘interesting’ first NASCAR experience

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Daniil Kvyat called his first laps in a NASCAR production car “interesting” as he took to the track for practice and qualifying at the Indianapolis road course on Saturday morning.

“It was very important to do some laps today,” Kvyat said after qualifying 36th. “It was a short free practice; a short qualification. I’m very happy that we managed to do some significant laps today to get me used to this car as the last race I did was in Formula 1 at Abu Dhabi in 2020 so the least I can say is that the cars are quite different to drive.

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“Very interesting experience. It’s always been fascinating for me to try the NASCAR car, and I’m very happy that it’s finally happening. I really enjoyed that. It was very cool. I look forward to tomorrow.

Kvyat races for the Hezeberg team in #26, which is the first time the team has raced two cars. The Hezeberg team, formed this year due to an attraction to the Next Gen car, focuses primarily on road racing, led by Loris Hezemans.

After Indianapolis, Kvyat hopes to run at least two more races this season. Watkins Glen would probably be the next race (August 21) and he would also like to participate in the Charlotte Roval (October 9).

“We are a very, very small team. Don’t forget that,” Kvyat said. “We have just started and the car [for Indy] was ready at the last moment. If you were at the factory, you’d be amazed at how much effort went into it and how last-minute everything went. This car was really put together with love.

The differences for Kvyat coming from the world of open wheels to production cars were evident as he said the NASCAR garage is more laid back and relaxed, but he acknowledged that the operation is equally impressive and is a high standard of racing. of championship.

At one point he was due to race in the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship this year with G-Drive Racing in LMP2, but was sidelined when the FIA ​​banned Russian drivers after the invasion of Ukraine. NASCAR is not restricting Russian drivers, paving the way for Kvyat to not only return to racing competition, but to do so in the form of races he wants to try.

“Honestly, I can race if I want; that’s not the problem,” Kvyat said when asked if he was worried about his next opportunity given the FIA ​​ban. “But it was great to be back with NASCAR and have this opportunity. A great example of sportsmanship and sport is good for everyone.

“I’m focused on NASCAR. I don’t think of other championships at the moment. I want to give all my energy here to gain as much experience and laps as possible… in order to become really competitive here one day.

Kvyat is open to any form of racing he can compete in both NASCAR and IndyCar, which is also in Indianapolis this weekend. There were no discussions about IndyCar, and Kvyat said he was drawn to NASCAR because it’s an independent and unique series.

“There really is no alternative,” Kvyat said. “And even if there are alternatives, they are much lower in level, so that’s why I was interested here. In IndyCar, I would be confident to do a very solid job right away because the cars are more what I’m used to.

A full NASCAR season wouldn’t be out of the question for Kvyat.

“Maybe next year,” he said. “But I also have to get up to speed on ovals, try oval racing and of course want to be competitive. I don’t just want to come and drive, I want to be competitive. That means I’m in the right place, that I I have the right experience – having a very competitive car is also important here – so all the factors have to come together.”

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