Although no official confirmation was issued by either the NASCAR team or the Italian driver, it is believed Trulli will leave his Toyota F1 Team shortly after the season finale at Abu Dhabi to observe the last 3 races of the Sprint Cup Chase in the NASCAR Series. In addition to sitting on the sidelines and take notes, Trulli will also test a Sprint Cup machinery at the International Speedway in Lakeland, prior to the Cup finale at Homestead Miami.
Trulli's contract with Panasonic Toyota F1 Team is to expire at the end of this year, and the Japanese team's president John Howett this week confirmed that the Italian will “most certainly” not be part of the team's lineup for 2010. In addition, Trulli is not linked with any commitment for 2010, therefore leaving F1 for NASCAR makes even more sense.
“As you well know, this is not an easy sport. But from time to time an opportunity arises for both them (open-wheel racers) and us to take a look. It's very premature to get carried away with this because it takes a long time for both parties to know where they are in terms of performance,” said Steve Hallam, former chief engineer at McLaren, in an interview with American network Fox Sports.
Hallam is now director of competition at Michael Waltrip Racing.
Trulli is not the only F1 driver to test for MWR after the end of the F1 season, as Finnish driver and former Ferrari-an Mika Salo also confirmed his presence in a MWR-prepared car for a testing session later in 2009.
Also, Nelsinho Piquet is expected to conclude some testing mileage for Red Horse team's Toyota Tundra racer, only this time in a Truck Series car. According to some reports, he aims for a Camping World Truck campaign in 2010 and a presence in the Sprint Cup roster by 2012.