Valentino Rossi sets the pace in NASCAR (w/VIDEO)

Earlier this week, Valentino Rossi joined Kyle Busch at Charlotte Motor Speedway to sample a NASCAR Nationwide Series stock car. He lapped quickly enough to qualify in the top-15 of the Nationwide Series field and in doing so earned a few new stock car admirers.

The nine-time World Motorcycling Champion got quickly up to speed, travelling at 185mph around the 1.5-mile circuit, before pumping in some faster laps. Despite the unfamiliar surroundings, and it being Rossi’s first time on a banked oval, he soon became comfortable and began enjoying the experience.

“It was so cool to understand the feeling!” beamed Rossi. “I have a lot of friends from Europe and Italy who follow NASCAR. It looks like it’s a completely different type of racing than what we do in Europe and I expected something more like this – exciting, high speed and a great feeling in the corner.”

Valentino Rossi Nascar Kyle Busch G2 999x664 Valentino Rossi sets the pace in NASCAR (w/VIDEO)

“In the bank you have a lot of grip, so you are glued on the racetrack. It was great, I enjoyed it a lot. I love driving the race car, and I always have, so it was exciting to drive a NASCAR.”

Busch paid compliments to Rossi’s NASCAR driving skills, “..as far as driving the car, I thought he did pretty good. He started out a little slow, which is fine, but every lap he picked it up a lot.”

“He got to where he was running some competitive lap speeds – times that would put him in the top-15 in Nationwide Series practice. That’s pretty good for a guy in his first start, who is just coming over and getting used to things and someone that is (more) used to driving on two wheels.”

Valentino Rossi Nascar Kyle Busch G7 999x664 Valentino Rossi sets the pace in NASCAR (w/VIDEO)

Rossi added: “At the beginning it was a bit strange because it’s difficult to go straight. But after some laps, I had a lot of confidence and I was able to go faster and faster and faster. I must say I got along very well with Kyle. He’s a good guy. I like him and he gave me a lot of important advice.”

It’s not the first time Rossi has driven a four-wheel race car, the Italian occasionally races his Ferrari 458 Italia in the Blancpain Endurance Series and is always competitive. He also won last November’s Monza Rally, driving a Ford Fiesta WRC and beating off Le Mans winner Dindo Capello in a Citroen WRC DS3.

Valentino Rossi Nascar Kyle Busch G5 999x664 Valentino Rossi sets the pace in NASCAR (w/VIDEO)

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