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Piquet Jr. switches to full-time Nationwide
9 February 2013
Nelson Piquet Jr. is inching closer to the goal of becoming a top-tier NASCAR driver with a move up to the Nationwide Series in 2013. Not only will it be Piquet's maiden season, it will be the first time that any Brazilian driver has competed full-time at Nationwide level.
The former F1 driver will drive for Turner Scott Motorsports, running in the team's #30 Chevrolet Camaro, it was announced on Friday.
"I am very happy to be returning with Turner Scott Motorsports in 2013, and incredibly excited to be making the move to the NASCAR Nationwide Series," said Piquet.
"I said from the very beginning of my NASCAR career that I wanted to go about it the right way and progress through the ranks when the time was right, that I wouldn't rush," he added. "I feel that 2012 was a really fantastic season for me and it provided me with the opportunity to go to the next level."
Piquet has already completed two full seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, claiming two wins in 2012 (Michigan International Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway) and 15 top-five finishes. Piquet has additionally made four starts in the Nationwide Series, including his first victory in the series last year at Road America with the Turner team.
"I feel that 2012 was a really fantastic season for me and it provided me with the opportunity to go to the next level," said the Brazilian, who is the son of three-time F1 world champion Nelson Piquet. "I'm very excited about the challenge of the Nationwide Series, and I know that I'm going to be doing it running for one of the best teams in the sport.
"I'm very grateful to Turner Scott Motorsports and our new partners that have come on board to make this full-time Nationwide season possible," he added.
Harry Scott Jr., the new co-owner of the team, said that he had been impressed with the 27-year-old's progress in the US stock car scene since he joined NASCAR in the wake of the so-called "Crashgate" affair that tarnished and ultimately ended his time in F1.
"Nelson was tremendously successful last season and he has proven to be an asset to Turner Scott Motorsports," said Scott. "We are proud to continue our relationship with Nelson in 2013, and we are pleased to be the team where he will take his career to the next level."
Money-wise, Piquet's switch to Nationwide racing this year will be backed by long-time sponsors Qualcomm, Autotrac and TAG Heuer Eyewear, along with additional funding from Delavaco Capital Inc. and power tools specialist Worx. Piquet will continue to have long-time Truck crew chief Chris Carrier alongside him also moving into the Nationwide Series in 2013.
"He and Chris Carrier are a really good match, and we're glad we can give them a chance to bring that chemistry to the Nationwide Series," said Scott.
Piquet will start the new season in the Worx-sponsored Chevy on Saturday, February 23 in the DRIVE4COPD 300 event at Daytona International Speedway, and Scott made clear the expectations that the team and the driver had for their 2013 campaign.
"We have what is arguably the strongest lineup our Nationwide program has ever had, and we feel very confident that Turner Scott Motorsports will be hoisting the trophy in Homestead," he said.
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