From 'The Professor', to the mad professor; ever wonder what Alain Prost's been up to since the demise of his Formula One team? One thing he has been doing is taking a serious look at the American NASCAR series...

Alain Prost, four-time Formula One champion, driver to have won the most races in the series until Michael Schumacher exceeded his 51 grand prix wins in 2001, team owner and racing legend, hasn't had too good a time of things since hanging up his helmet from racing. After some time acting as a racing 'coach' to McLaren drivers David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen, Prost, after much speculation, ended up taking over the Ligier F1 concern and renaming it Prost.

Prost's time as a team owner was not touched by the success he achieved as a driver. Ligier had last won a race in 1996, at the hands of Olivier Panis, and, initially at least, the Prost cars looked to be strong and Jarno Trulli even led the Austrian GP in 1997 in a Prost car.

Unfortunately it was downhill from there and the team dropped out of Formula One, heavily in debt, before the 2002 season had even started. What to do now? Well the Frenchman was recently spotted at the NASCAR Winston Cup finale at the Homestead Speedway in Miami.

"I have never been before -- this is my first time," Prost is reported on the official NASCAR website as saying. "I wanted to see the ambience and to see a few people, to understand the business and to get some information about this series."

Quite why Prost would be wanting to get information about the series is a subject of conjecture, but the Frenchman did give away more. "I watch (NASCAR) very often on TV and I like it," Prost explained. "But I had never been to see the cars and the people and it is quite nice."

The report draws attention to Prost's proximity to Busch Series owner George deBidart who has a couple of teams needing sponsorship for next year and Prost was asked if he was interested in a NASCAR team involvement.

"You never know," Prost explained. "I quite like the ambience of motorsports in this country, so I am looking at a possibility. I cannot say more. But, I am trying to understand it, first. There is a huge interest for this series, even for sponsors, in Europe. I am more or less mandated by companies that asked me to see if it is interesting or not."

Prost was attributed as saying his visit was a fact-finding excursion for some possible European sponsors, but what these sponsors could be sponsoring was not elaborated on. The French DAMS team will be competing in Britain's ASCAR series next year so there certainly is French interest in stock cars.

But could it be that at 47 years old Prost fancies another crack at racing glory?

He would not be seen as too old to compete in NASCAR, with veterans such as Dick Trickle, 61, and Geoffrey Bodine, 53, still taking part in races . Perhaps Alain has been spurred on by the success of his fellow countryman Nicolas Minassian who won the British based ASCAR oval series and fancies some more race action himself?