Former F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. will take part in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this weekend, driving the #77 Randy Humphrey Racing Ford Fusion at Watkins Glen International.
The 29-year-old Brazilian has previously competed in the Nationwide and Truck Series championships, making 54 starts in Trucks following his series début in 2010. He made his Nationwide début two years later at Watkins Glen and finished in the top ten; he went on to claim his first pole and victory at Road America in 2012 in what was only his third start in the Nationwide Series.
This year Piquet has been competing full-time for SH Racing Rallycross in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series, in which he leads the driver championship points standings by 46 points after five of ten races, but returns for a one-off appearance back in stock cars this weekend with the restructured Randy Humphrey Racing team.
"Ever since I made my NASCAR Nationwide Series début at The Glen in 2010, I've wanted to do the same in a Sprint Cup car," he said. "I've really enjoyed racing in other series this year, but I've missed being in the NASCAR garage. I'm very grateful to Randy Humphrey, Bray Pemberton and WORX Yard Tools for making this opportunity happen."
"Nelson Piquet Jr. is an extremely talented race car driver," said Humphrey. "It's been impressive to watch him race, not just in NASCAR, but in Formula One and Rallycross as well. He's excelled at all levels of racing and we're very excited about his Sprint Cup Series début with RHR."
Milka Duno gets Nationwide seat
Venezuelan race car driver Milka Duno will get a limited-season run in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with RAB Racing, making her the first Hispanic female driver in history to compete in a NASCAR national series in the United States.
Duno has experience in ARCA, American Le Mans and the Grand-Am Rolex Series. She's perhaps best known for her time in the IndyCar Series with partial schedules between 2007 and 2009 and a full time campaign in 2010 with Dale Coyne Racing.
"I'm really very excited and honoured to enter into NASCAR and the Nationwide Series," said Duno. "It has always been a goal and dream of mine to compete in NASCAR and I worked very hard in ARCA to turn this goal into a reality.
"I always strive to challenge myself as a driver and I've been fortunate to compete in many types of racing - and while the competition is always my number one focus - I am very proud of the history that I have made as a female driver, and the Hispanic sports history as well, that has been made along the way.
"NASCAR is the most competitive and popular racing series in the USA and I'm very proud to enter the series with RAB Racing and I look forward to competing with them in their No. 29 Toyota Camry."
"We've watched Milka develop in the ARCA Racing Series and feel she is prepared for the next step in her stock car racing career," said RAB Racing owner Robby Benton. "I think that working together with [crew chief] Chris Rice, Milka can find a home in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
She has a very strong fan base and we hope we can attract them to follow her in her NASCAR endeavours," he added. "Milka is very intelligent and educated and we look forward to working with her."
The team said that she would run 'select races' in the remainder of the 2014 Nationwide season but did not immediately reveal which ones or how many outings there would be.
Nationwide, Truck teams penalised
Three teams have been handed penalties following last weekend's races at Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway.
In the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the Rick Ware Racing #23 team was found to have broken the rule regarding the manner in which weights are added to the car; the weight in question was improperly attached and fell out during the race at Iowa. As a result, crew chief Jonas Bell has been fined $10,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until December 31. There were no penalties for the driver of the car, Carl Long.
In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the Red Horse Racing #17 team breached regulations regarding the combined thickness of the throttle shaft and the throttle plates used during opening day inspection at Pocono. As a result crew chief Paul Richmond has been fined $7,500 and placed on NASCAR probation until the end of the year, a P3-level penalty under NASCAR's new system. Again there were no penalties for the driver, Timothy Peters.
Finally, the #6 truck owned and driven by Norm Benning was found in violation of a rule covering air wedges that occurred during the race itself. This was deemed a P1 penalty and earned the team a loss of track time in opening practice at Michigan International Speedway on August 15.
Felix Sabates' grandson killed in accidental shooting
The grandson of Felix Sabates, who co-owns and runs the Chip Ganassi Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup team which employs drivers Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray, has been killed in a reported accidental shooting in Florida on Saturday night.
According to The Palm Beach Post
, Feliciano Sabates was shot by a 17-year-old friend who was allegedly drunk and on drugs. A group of friends has been playing with a 9mm pistol when one of them pointed it at Sabates' chest and fired; the teenager was subsequently charged with manslaughter.