F1 champion Jenson Button wants to try new things in NASCAR

CHICAGO — At this stage of his life and career, Jenson Button isn’t interested in racing anything full-time, but he does want to try new experiences in motorsports.

That’s the entire reason the 2009 Formula 1 world champion, now 42 years old, is making a handful of NASCAR starts this year in the first place. It’s why he signed up to race NASCAR’s Garage56 project in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

And as much as he’s enjoyed integrating himself into the NASCAR culture this spring and summer, it’s just unrealistic for him to embrace the rigors of a full Cup Series slate after 20 years chasing F1 and Sports Car victories.

“At this point in my life, it’s just not possible,” Button said on Friday during a Chicago Street Course press conference. “I couldn’t do 38 weekends of the year. I’ve got two little kids, and I know some drivers can do it and it works for them.

But for me, having so many years of racing already under my belt, of traveling and what-have-you, it’s very difficult. The thing is, also, a lot of the stuff I do would go away – those deals that I have for years to come. It puts me in an awkward situation if I just did one or two years in NASCAR.”

Button says it would be ‘a dream’ to race in NASCAR but not a ‘reality’ given that his family lives across the Atlantic.

“I would love to keep doing one-off races if there was an opportunity, but it’s also not easy,” Button said. “It’s hard to get a car that has the funding and a charter just to make the race.”

Button made his Cup Series debut in April at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. He finished 18th driving a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang entered by Rick Ware Racing. He is scheduled to race the Streets of Chicago, Indianapolis Road Course and Watkins Glen to close out his season.

With that said, Button has entertained the notion of stepping completely out of his comfort zone by making a start on an oval, the bread and butter of NASCAR racing.

“I would like to try an oval one day, but it’s another world,” Button said. “These guys have driven ovals since they were five or six years old. So, why would I be good there?

“I don’t know. It’s a possibility, but it’s a lot of work. It’s already enough getting used to driving such a big car for me, and the style of racing is a big step as well. Maybe one day. I’m very happy and very lucky to be doing the three races I’m doing this year.”

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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