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Jenson Button
F1 World Champion Button To Race in Verizon 200 at the Brickyard

Jenson Button is no stranger to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, but he will tackle the circuit for the first time since 2007 in an interesting new challenge this August.

2009 Formula One World Champion Button will race in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 13 on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course at IMS as part of a three-race schedule comprising his NASCAR Cup Series debut this year. Button will drive the No. 15 Ford Mustang fielded by Rick Ware Racing, with marketing and promotional support provided by Stewart Haas Racing, co-owned by two-time Brickyard 400 winner Tony Stewart.

“Obviously, racing a Cup car is very different than what I’m used to,” said Button, 43. “It’s a lot heavier with a lot less power and, basically, no downforce. It’s got a sequential gearbox where you need to blip the throttle, so there’s lots of stuff to learn in a very short space of time.

“But I just get excited about that new challenge, and when I throw myself into something, I am 100 percent in. I’m not just doing it for fun in some one-off. I want to be competitive, and I know that to be competitive, it’s going to take a bit of time. That’s why doing these three races works very well this season.”

Button’s three races all will take place on road or street courses. He will make his Cup Series debut March 26 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, followed by a second start July 2 at the inaugural street race in downtown Chicago.

While this will be Button’s first NASCAR race at IMS, he has seven previous starts at the Racing Capital of the World in the United States Grand Prix Formula One race from 2000-04 and 2006-07. His best finish in the USGP – which took place on a slightly different layout than the current IMS circuit – is eighth in 2002 with Renault.

Button won 15 grands prix during his F1 career, which lasted from 2000-17. After his retirement from F1, he has raced in numerous series and disciplines, including sports cars in the Japanese Super GT Series, the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and off road in the Mint 400 and Baja 1000.

Englishman Button also will drive a slightly modified Cup Series car in the Garage 56 lineup this year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 10-11. Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is part of that driver lineup.

“A Cup car has a lot less downforce and is a lot heavier, but the Garage 56 car has given me an idea of what it will be like along with a direction, which is really useful,” Button said. “I know in my first race I’m not expected to be qualifying right at the front, and I’m not expected to be fighting for a victory. I have a lot of respect for the drivers racing in the Cup Series. There’s so much talent there, whether it’s on ovals or road courses.

“Ten years ago, people used to say NASCAR guys can’t drive around a circuit, but I think they’ve proven that they can. Every time an ex-F1 driver gets in a stock car these days, they struggle initially. It takes awhile for them to get up to speed, so I don’t expect to be right at the front, straight away. That’s why, for me, doing more than one race is really key so I can get the best out of myself and the best out of the car.”

Tickets for the Brickyard Weekend on Aug. 11-13 are available at The tripleheader consists of the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard for the NASCAR Cup Series, the Pennzoil 150 at the Brickyard for the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Gallagher Grand Prix for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

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