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Grosjean: Sonoma best chance to make NASCAR debut

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Romain Grosjean believes that his best chance of making his NASCAR debut will come at the Sonoma road course race at the end of June.

Grosjean expressed an interest in trying out NASCAR after joining Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas’ new Formula 1 operation for its debut season in 2016.

The Frenchman confirmed to NBC Sports back in February that he had discussed the possibility with Haas, but joked in Spain on Thursday that he was yet to speak to his wife about it.

“So far I haven’t spoken with my wife!” Grosjean said.

“Definitely I want to do it. I think it’s something we’ve discussed since day one. It would be great experience.

“When it’s going to happen, I don’t know. It’s 21 races, it’s quite a tight schedule already in Formula 1. Of course you don’t want to start on an oval, I wouldn’t feel very comfortable.”

“We’ll find what’s possible to do.”

Grosjean’s best opportunities for a road course appearance come with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma on June 26 and the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen on August 7. However, the race at The Glen would cut into F1’s summer break.

“That’s a problem,” Grosjean said. “Sonoma is better I think.”

Sonoma may be better for Grosjean, but it will add up to a brutal five-weekend run of racing that involves a great deal of travel.

After the Canadian Grand Prix on June 12, Grosjean will venture to Azerbaijan for the nation’s first F1 race on June 19 before potentially heading back west to California.

Following Sonoma, Grosjean would then need to go straight to Austria for the next F1 race on July 3, which is then followed by the British Grand Prix one week later.

Grosjean ruled out racing on ovals in the future both in NASCAR and the Indy 500, saying that he had never been attracted to it.

“I love watching the race but I’ve never been attracted by it, so Le Mans 24 Hours yes, Rally Monte Carlo yes, but ovals… I’d probably miss turning right,” Grosjean said.

Having previously raced in GTs, Grosjean is no stranger to closed cockpit racing. Although he conceded there would be much to learn in NASCAR, it is a challenge he relishes.

“It’s probably a bit heavier and more powerful,” Grosjean said.

“The brakes don’t look to be the best brakes in the world. There’s a lot of contact as well.

“A few things to learn, but why not? It would be fun.”

Should Grosjean be able to make his debut though, it would not come with Stewart-Haas Racing. NASCAR rules only allow four cars per team and no exceptions for rookie drivers as used to be the case. A possible scenario for Grosjean would be racing with the SHR-supported HScott Motorsports team.