Nelsinho Piquet has admitted that he is 'excited' by the prospect of getting out on-track to begin his career the other side of the Pond in NASCAR – and as his debut nears in the ARCA Racing Series' curtain-raising Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 this coming weekend, the 'Singapore-gate' protagonist is preparing himself for the thrill of running '200mph side-by-side and rubbing paint'.
Piquet left F1 with his tail between his legs in the wake of one of the most explosive examples of cheating in recent sporting memory, during which he agreed to deliberately crash out of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix at the request of his Renault bosses, in order to enable team-mate Fernando Alonso to triumph in the top flight's inaugural night race from a lowly grid slot – and then subsequently blew the whistle on the conspiracy after he was fired midway through 2009, leading to wide-reaching ramifications for all involved.
Having vowed to launch a 'second career' of sorts in NASCAR circles, the Brazilian – son of triple F1 World Champion Nelson Piquet – is set to campaign a Toyota in the stockcar-based ARCA Racing Series, and as he approaches his maiden outing at Daytona in Florida, he is palpably champing at the bit to get started and end a six-month absence from competition.
“I'm very excited,” he is quoted as having said by Planet F1
. “I can't wait to reach 200mph side-by-side and rubbing paint. The plans for the season are coming together really well, and I am racing with a very strong team. I can't wait to get out on-track!”
That 'strong team' is the eponymously-named Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR), and the team boss – a former NASCAR ace himself – is positive about the contribution the 24-year-old can make.
“We are excited to have Nelson driving for us at Daytona this year,” the American underlined. “He will represent ESR well, and we believe he will gain some good learning miles in a stockcar, especially racing at Daytona.”