Former NASCAR Nextel (Winston) Cup Champion Bill Elliott returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, site of his 2002 Brickyard 400 triumph, on Monday behind the wheel of Ray Evernham's #91 Visteon sponsored Dodge and took time to reflect on the time he tried CART racing with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Although the 1988 Winston Cup Champion has never driven an Indy style car around the famed 2.5-mile quad oval, he did take in an equally hair-raising ride in a Champ Car prepared by Chip Ganassi at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway a decade ago.

While practising for a supporting IROC race, Elliott was persuaded to try an IndyCar around the two-mile D-shaped oval, where he was soon lapping at speeds in excess of 210mph. Although a dyed-in-the-wool NASCAR man from the South, Elliott was impressed enough to want more track time than he was allowed.

Now in the twilight of his career, the 48 year-old probably will never get another chance behind the wheel of an IndyCar and although his stint at Michigan was short, he recalled it with fondness on Monday at IMS.

"Indy was always something that was in the back of your mind, but I never grew up in open-wheel cars, and it's quite a bit different," said Elliott, who finished Monday as the third fastest driver on the unofficial timesheets. "Chip Ganassi gave me an opportunity to run those things. I went out and ran around a little bit to have fun.

"I told Al Unser Jr. that I just wished I had more time to go play where you could go and really help understand the car because just to get in and run five or six laps, you really don't have an understanding of what the car's all about or what it's capable of doing.

"But I really enjoyed it. I had a good time."

Asked if he ever has ambitions to run the Indy 500, Elliott indicated that it was something that he would have enjoyed, had his NASCAR schedule allowed.

"Well, there was probably always a thought, but to me you need more time in those things and as caught up as you are in the Cup stuff for so many years, it's hard to do to do everything you need to do to come here and split your season," he added.

Elliott may have sold his open-wheel abilities short. His third lap in the Indy Car was faster than 212mph at a time when pole speeds were creeping into the 230mph bracket.