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Piquet Jr. takes first win in K&N East

Nelson Piquet Jr. has claimed his first win in NASCAR's K&N Pro Series East, the first Brazilian to win a race in the regional series in its 25 year history.
Nelson Piquet Jr. became the first Brazilian race car driver to win a race in NASCAR's K&N Pro Series East when he took victory in Saturday's "Widow Wax 125 presented by SealWrap Repair Tape" race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“It's an amazing victory. It's just good to accomplishing something you've been trying to do for a long time,” said the 26-year-old former F1 driver, after winning for Brazilian outfit X Team Racing from pole position despite dropping to fifth during the race and then having to withstand stiff opposition from Ryan Blaney under a green-white-chequered finish to seal the win.

"I was probably not at my best on restarts and giving space," said Piquet. "[But] I managed to get my act together at the end of the race, get my positions back and hold it, and bring it to victory lane."

It was Piquet's first race in the K&N Pro Series East regional championship. While not the first national-level victory that Piquet is striving for with his regular Camping World Truck Series ride or his limited Nationwide Series runs, it's still an impressive entry into the US stock car record books for Piquet.

Saturday's win makes him just one of eight non-US born drivers to have won at any level in NASCAR. That puts him into the same company as drivers including Mario Andretti (Italy), Juan Pablo Montoya (Columbia), Marcos Ambrose (Australia) and Ron Fellows (Canada).

"It was a great result and a very important day for me," he said. "We were fastest in free practice, I got my first NASCAR pole and then my first win. To achieve my first victory in the USA and my first victory in a stock car is a very special emotion for me.

"To carry the Brazilian flag to Victory Lane was part of the dream for me and now I've conquered that it is such a motivation for the rest of the year," he added. "It's good to be able to give a Brazilian team a first victory and being a Brazilian driver it's always going to be remembered by the team."

Piquet is hoping that the win in K&N is a positive sign for his forthcoming races in the national-level races as well.

"It's definitely good to have this right at the start of the year and it's good practice for me," he said. "Seat time, especially on short tracks where you are running close to the other cars, has been something I needed experience in so I'm focused on ironing out any place that I need more experience. I'll probably race the K&N series again at Richmond for that reason.

"Obviously my goal is to be in Cup one day, but we're going to have to take baby steps," he added. "That's how it's going to start - win here, win in Trucks, then in Nationwide and slowly we'll work up there ... I want to be the first Brazilian to win a Sprint championship, so my goals are definitely higher - but this is a good start!"

Piquet finished in 10th place in his début year as a rookie in the Camping World Truck Series in 2011. He suffered an accident late in the opening race of the 2012 season at Daytona in February and was classified in 22nd position, a disappointing end after qualifying strongly on the front row of the grid. The second Truck Series race of the season is at Martinsville on March 31.

In the meantime, Piquet can take a moment to savour the weekend's success.

"It's been really great, I've had a lot of congratulations," he revealed. "It's good for people to see that I'm learning and improving and dedicating myself to competing in NASCAR."



Related Pictures

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Nelson Piquet Jr. takes the chequered flag. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
Nelson Piquet Jr. celebrates in Victory Lane at Bristol. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cars race after a restart lead by Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet (L), Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Cartwheel by Target Chevrolet (R) during the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redds Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Redds Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
A view of the track during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Crew chief Chad Knaus inspects the car of Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, after a crash during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, crashes in the early part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 12, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 12, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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Lee - Unregistered

March 20, 2012 2:51 PM

How many races has Montoya won since going Nascar? Piquet is there for a year or so and is fighting for the championship and winning races. If you like him or hate him the kid has talent lost the GP2 title to Lewis and would had won the title had he not abandon many races due to mechanical problem. In F1 he was 3 tenths of a second slower than Alonso as a rookie and Briatori himself confirmed Piquet had an inferior package all weekends. I would love to see him racing in F1 again for a top team surely he would prove what he's real made of.



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