2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button took on a new adventure last weekend, as he made his debut in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Button has dipped in and out of racing categories since he departed F1 at the end of the 2016 season.
For his NASCAR debut, which was spent with Rick Ware Racing, Button returned to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas – a track that is familiar to him through his F1 career.
William Byron took pole for the race, with Button setting a time that was good enough for 24th out of 39 drivers.
Button got in the mix straight away and made up two positions in the opening sectors, but dropped back to 26th by the time he completed his first tour of the track.
The race was filled with caution periods, but Button kept out of major trouble and avoided race-ending damage, despite being involved in the wards.
In the end, he took the chequered flag in 18th place.
However, a major factor in his race was temperature inside the car, admitting that he almost retired due to heat exhaustion.
“Finished 18th after almost stopping because I had heat exhaustion,” Button said.
“It was so hot, I don’t have a fan in my seat which really didn’t help me too much. It was so hot, I thought I was going to faint in the car.
“So, I stopped twice for a minute. They put ice on me, gave me loads of water, and I went back out. I was so close to getting out of the car because I thought I was going to faint.
“I must’ve drank eight [or] nine bottles of water during the race. The team kept me calm, and it’s the reason why we got a good result in the end. So, I was happy.”
Button also revealed that his car wasn’t feeling right after he made contact with former F1 rival Kimi Raikkonen, who made his first outing in the Cup Series after his 2022 debut.
Raikkonen finished the race in 29th.
“I also had a massive whack from Kimi, and it fell off after that,” Button said. “The car wasn’t quite right. Every time I turned in, the rear tyres would chatter, then immediately to oversteer.
“It was really difficult, but towards the end, we made some good calls stopping and putting on fresh tires. I enjoyed the last three restarts – got good placement and good overtaking moves from the outside.”
Button will be back competing in the NASCAR Cup Series at the Chicago Street Course event on July 2.