NASCAR »

Nationwide: Piquet Jr. seals first NASCAR win

Former F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. charged to his first national-level NASCAR Series win at Road America with victory in the Sargento 200 Nationwide Series road race.
Nelson Piquet Jr. is finally a full NASCAR national level race winner in the US, after claiming victory in only his third appearance in the Nationwide Series in the Sargento 200 road course race at Elkhart Lake's 4.048-mile, 14-turn Road America track.

Piquet Jr. becomes the first Brazilian and only the fifth driver born outside the US to win a major NASCAR event, after having previously won a race in the regional K&N Pro Series East series in March at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“The car was great," he said after claiming the chequered flag at the end of two and a half hours of tough and physical road course racing. "I just had to make sure I didn't make any mistakes."

Having earlier won pole position for the Sargento 200 - itself a first for him at this level - Piquet Jr. got a good start to take the lead in a largely incident-green beginning to the 50-lap race, but it was clear that the more experienced Michael McDowell in second place had the faster car and sure enough the #18 soon passed for the lead going up the hill toward turn 6 on lap 3.

With the four-mile length of this road course, pit stop strategy here is totally different from anywhere else on the NASCAR calendar since it is possible to come in for a stop and not lose a lap. That opened up an unusual strategy for Michael Annett and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who both came in at the end of the first lap to top up on fuel, in order that they could get back out on track in clear air away from any incidents that might break out in the main pack.

Sam Hornish Jr. was in next time around, although that didn't work so well as he ended up dragging his refuelling can out of the pit stall as he pulled away and had to serve a drive-thru; a couple of laps later it was Jacques Villeneuve and Kurt Busch on pit road, and then next time by it was the two leaders McDowell and Piquet Jr. in for their first stops.

That left Canadian road ace Ron Fellows in charge of the race, but he suffered a left front puncture and ended up losing a huge amount of time limping around the track back to pit lane; Brian Scott inherited the lead ahead of Justin Allgaier, Danica Patrick and Cole Whitt who had all yet to stop; Patrick was putting her road racing experience to good use by pressuring Allgaier into a small mistake, locking up his brakes and giving the #7 an open invitation to go past.

But this set of leaders were somewhat undone when a caution came out on lap 13 for a spin by TJ Bell at turn 14: they would now have to come in for their stop after the field had closed up again, costing them a number of positions in the process.

At the restart, McDowell was back in front but sharing the front row with 'Mad' Max Papis, who was always going to do his level best to snatch the lead at the first opportunity - and he duly pulled it off going into turn 3, soon pulling out a couple of car lengths over McDowell but not allowed to escape any further than that before a new caution came out on lap 17 for debris on the main straight.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Nelson Piquet Jr. celebrates in Victory Lane at Bristol. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
Nelson Piquet Jr. claims pole position in the Inaugural Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 at Rockingham Speedway. April 2012. [Photo credit: Rainer Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Nelson Piquet Jr., driver of the #30 Qualcomm / Autotrac Chevrolet, celebrates with the Coors Light Pole Award after posting the fastest speed (109.516 mph, 133.066 secs.) during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sargento 200 at Road America on June 23, 2012 in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Nelson Piquet Jr. ahead of qualifying for the Inaugural Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 at Rockingham Speedway. April 2012. [Photo credit: Rainer Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Nelson Piquet Jr. celebrates with his team in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sargento 200 at Road America on June 23 in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane with team owner Dale Earnhardt jr. after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship after the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.