25 July 2012
Nationwide runs for Tagliani, Piquet Jr.
Alex Tagliani and Nelson Piquet Jr. have both signed up for an additional ride each in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for the Turner Motorsports team.
Canada's Alex Tagliani will be racing in next month's NASCAR Nationwide Series in the August race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. He will be in the #30 Turner Motorsports car on August 18, the team confirmed on Wednesday.
The team also announced that they had signed up Nelson Piquet Jr. for a quick return behind the wheel of the same car for the following week's Nationwide race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Piquet scored a breakthrough win in NASCAR with victory in his previous Nationwide outing at Road America in June, in what was only his fourth start in the series. In doing so, he became the first Brazilian to win a national level NASCAR series race.
"After the success of my first Nationwide start of 2012, I'm more than ready to make my second," the 26-year-old said. "Crew chief Trent Owens and I worked very well together at Road America and I'm excited be given this opportunity again this year. Turner Motorsports has proven to be very dominant this year in both the Nationwide Series and the Truck Series. I'm ready to get them another win."
A regular this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Piquet said it was very important for him to be able to make his mark away from road courses, where he had traditionally been strong because of his former career experience in F1, GP2, A1GP and British Formula Three.
"It was very important to me for it to be on an oval," he said. "I think I've proven that I can get around a road course quite well, so my next step is trying to prove I can do just as well on an oval."
Tagliani's motor racing career has also been spent in series with more road and street courses than NASCAR. He has competed in Formula Atlantic, V8 Supercars and CART/Champ Car World Series and is now competing full time in its successor, the IZOD IndyCar Series. His NASCAR outings tend to be as a road course specialist, and the opportunity to race before his home crowd is always a particular draw for him.
"I'm always proud to come back to Montreal and to be able to race on this fantastic road course named after one of my all-time racing heroes, Gilles Villeneuve," said Tagliani said. "I really wanted to race here again, so when the opportunity presented itself with Turner Motorsports and we were no longer scheduled to be overseas, I was pretty excited.
"In Formula Atlantic, I won here from the pole and also had a pole in IndyCar," he recalled. "Montreal has been good to me to date and I'm hoping to better my race history here. Having a competitive car to challenge for the win is all I can wish for."
Last year, Tagliani was a close second place after an epic battle with another road course specialist, Marcos Ambrose.
"Last year's race was a great experience and it was amazing to qualify on the front row and finish the race second," he said. "I feel like I'm covering Canada well this season, with two races in IndyCar and the Nationwide race in Montreal now."
Tagliani finished in tenth place in the IndyCar race on the streets of Toronto earlier this month, and followed that up with fifth place for Bryan Herta Autosport last weekend in the Edmonton Indy.
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