There is sad news to report from suburban Montreal: Jacques Villeneuve, younger brother of the late Gilles and uncle to his namesake — former Indy 500, CART and Formula One champ Jacques Villeneuve — has been diagnosed with advanced intestinal cancer.
The 60-year-old Villeneuve, known commonly as “Uncle Jacques” to distinguish him from his nephew (who will race in this year’s Indianapolis 500 for the first time since winning it in 1995), announced the battle he’s undergoing to a group of Montreal-area media on Tuesday.
“What’s not encouraging is that I’ve been told that the cancer is well advanced. I have little chance of recovering,” Villeneuve sadly told the Journal de Montreal (per translated report by Auto123.com).
The elder Jacques is a former two-time Formula Atlantic and Can-Am series champion, and also competed in the former CART series, winning a1985 race at Wisconsin’s Road America road course.
His nephew and namesake also won at Road America in 1994 and 1995, the same year the younger Villeneuve won the Indy 500.
The elder Jacques also raced snowmobiles for more than two decades, earning a number of victories and championships, and even had a brief foray in Formula One. He had reportedly not been feeling well for several months and learned of his diagnosis last week after seeing a doctor and undergoing a battery of tests.
Villeneuve is expected to undergo treatment starting next week.
Sadly, Thursday was the 32nd anniversary of Gilles’ death in a crash during qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix.
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Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).