Jenson Button gets brutally honest about NASCAR debut

Jenson Button made it to the finish on his NASCAR Cup Series debut on Sunday at the Circuit of the Americas, but it was far from easy.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster ride,” Button said. “At first it was terrible. I mean, I must have been the last one at the end. And I just said, ‘Everybody: go. I just have to ride and find a rhythm.” I’ve never gone too far through a corner that many times. And trying to put my car in the right place – I got it wrong every time. Normally nobody tries to pass you from the outside when you are going through a corner a little slowly. Because they won’t quite make it next time. But here they do it because they get one wheel in for the next, and when you turn in, you turn around.”

Button started the race in 24th place and disappeared in the field due to various problems.

“The first stint was really bad – I was embarrassed,” said the F1 World Champion. “I was like, ‘Okay guys, we need to pit, freshen the tires and I need some air – I need some fresh air.’ I got that. The pace was good, the consistency was good. I was really happy and passed a few cars which was nice.

“We were a bit unlucky with the safety car because it was only two laps from our window. Pitted, then the next stint was chaos. We also made a few changes that just didn’t work. Big oversteer – went from a great car feel to a really difficult car to drive.”

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The 43-year-old said he almost stopped racing due to heat exhaustion.

“I finished 18th after almost stopping because I had heat exhaustion,” he explained. “It was so hot, I don’t have a fan in my seat, which didn’t really help. It was so hot I thought I would pass out in the car. So I stopped twice for a minute. They put ice on me, gave me lots of water, and I went out again. I was so close to getting out of the car because I thought I was going to faint. I must have drunk eight (or) nine bottles of water during the race. The team kept me calm and that’s why we got a good result in the end. So I was happy.”

Hopefully Button’s next NASCAR Cup Series race at the July 2nd Chicago Street Course race will be better than this one.


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