Step aside Ricky Bobby because this is not like being in the Highlander movie. This is real! "Frenchy" is coming to NASCAR. Granted, his story is quite a bit different than the character of Jean Gerard, also known as "Frenchy," in the Will Ferrell movie Talladega Nights. This is Daytona and a Frenchman is really is coming to race this weekend. Michel Disdier of France will drive the SS Green Light No. 07 Chevy Silverado for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opening Nextera Energy Resources 250 on Friday night at the Daytona International Speedway.
So how did a driver from France become addicted to NASCAR? Simple, he grew up here... well, kinda. Michel visited the USA during a school exchange program years ago and he fell in love with the speed of the high-banked superspeedways involved in stock car racing. He has spent the last 20 years dreaming about running a NASCAR race at 180 mph on the 2.5-mile Daytona tri-oval. After attending the season ending race at Homestead-Miami in 2002, the French road-racer returned home and has worked twelve years to catch his break racing across the Atlantic from his native homeland. And, he's excited about the opportunity.
"With less than one week until the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona, I am of course very excited," Disdier said. "For me it has been a long time coming and all the training and preparation will soon be put to the test. I thank everyone who was there for me over the years and I hope I will make them proud."
Michel's first North America race was in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series back in 2007 and he has made eleven starts in the ARCA Racing Series over the last six seasons with a best finish of eleventh last year at Daytona. This time around the driving will be in one of the sports top three series.
"Racing has been my life and although most of my experience has been on road racing circuits in Europe I have always dreamed of racing in NASCAR," the driver said. "I will have the chance to show what I can do at the Nextera Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway in a NASCAR Camping World Truck and that is all I am focusing on right now. I feel I am ready and am prepared to do well."
SS Green Light Racing owner/crew chief Bobby Dotter will guide Disdier's NASCAR debut. "Michel has a lot of enthusiasm and desire to compete in NASCAR, the guys have worked hard in the SS Green Light shop to prepare the No. 07 Silverado. We want him to run well and to help him realize his passion of racing in Camping World Truck Series."
Friday night Michel Disdier will live his life-long dream at Daytona, "I have some fans coming to Daytona from France so I hope to put on a good show for them. I may live in France but now I feel like I am coming home to the USA."
The Nextera Energy Resources 250 is the 314th consecutive NCWTS start for the SS Green Light Racing team, a streak that dates back to 2001. The race will prelude Sunday's 56th running of the Daytona 500. The race will be shown live on FOX Sports 1 and will also be broadcast via on the Motor Racing Network and on SIRIUSXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
You can follow Michel Disdier on Twitter @MichelDisdier