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Patrice Brisebois copes with retirement by racing in NASCAR

Aug 26, 2010, 2:30 PM EDT

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briseboispatrice.jpgPatrice Brisebois was once given the derisive nickname “Breeze by.” It seems that nickname has come full circle, as the 18-year NHL veteran found a new passion in life after retirement: race car driving.

The Montreal Gazette captures his experiences as Brisebois transitions from racing Ferraris to the competitive world of NASCAR.

“Give those guys an inch,” the 18-season NHL veteran says, “and they’re going to take a foot.”

[snip]

Clearly, he isn’t in the Canadian Tire Series for the riches, his winnings through three events at $3,760. Brisebois’s final contract with the Canadiens in 2008-09 paid him that sum in just a little over one period of hockey, based on an 82-game schedule.

“Some people say I still want to be in the spotlight,” he said. “No, I’m doing this for me. I want to be a really good race driver. The sound, speed, smell… it’s all amazing. You feel like a freebird. People who have never been on a racetrack can’t fully understand it.”

He laughed.

“You go as fast as possible, and there are no cops.”

It must be difficult to turn to normal, cubicle-based life after operating in an adrenaline-soaked atmosphere like the NHL for nearly two decades. Brisebois might not have been the best defenseman in the league, but he carved out a productive career and hopes to do the same in the also-fast-and-dangerous world of NASCAR.

Good luck to him.

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