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Friday, February 15, 2008
Villeneuve to be replaced unless new sponsor is found

By David Newton
ESPN.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jacques Villeneuve's career in the Sprint Cup Series is on hold.

The 1995 Indianapolis 500 will be replaced next week at California, likely by Mike Skinner, unless a sponsor can be found for the Bill Davis Racing car over the next 24 hours.

Mike Brown, the general manager at BDR, said there are no other plans to use Villeneuve until a sponsor is found.

"It's a race-to-race thing," Brown said. "We thought we had one sponsor, down to having the uniform with the logo on it. We just never got the deal closed. It's unfortunate for everyone."

Brown said the decision to go with a driver such as Skinner was based totally on experience.

"By missing Daytona and putting ourselves in position of having to qualify to make the race we need somebody with Skinner's ability," he said. "Mike has run so well in the Truck Series out there."

Skinner finished second in the Truck Series last season and won the title in 1995. He has 40 career poles in the Truck Series, three in the Nationwide Series and six in Cup.

Brown said Villeneuve, whose attempt to make Sunday's Daytona 500 ended with a crash in Thursday's qualifying race, continues to work on finding a sponsor and rebuilding his marketing team, which was disrupted with a recent split with manager Craig Pollock.

"Jaqcues is working hard to put all the right people in place with different Canadian companies," he said. "He just needs to regroup and get his management team in order."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.