Piquet Jr. wins first NASCAR race
25 June 2012 – On the weekend of Fernando Alonso’s dramatic victory in Valencia, former Renault team-mate Nélsinho Piquet celebrated his maiden NASCAR Nationwide win at Road America. Over 19 laps, the Brazilian beat Arizona’s Michael McDowell by 2.2 seconds.
Having taken the lead on the second lap, Piquet’s remaining 17 were faultless as he sailed to his first motor racing win since that of the ARCA Racing Series two years ago. This weekend’s race also included 1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve.
“It's difficult to put into words what I'm feeling,” Piquet said. “I think we had a great week since the first practice. I learned the track quite quickly and the team helped me out quite a bit. I could have fought harder in the middle of the race but there was no reason to, I wasn't going to accomplish anything.
“I just held back a little bit and when it was the right moment I attacked. It was on one of the restarts where I passed Jacques and moved quick through the field and led the race at the end.”
Piquet debuted in F1 with Renault in 2008, scoring his only podium finish in the German Grand Prix, but was sacked by Flavio Briatore after the following year’s Hungarian race of 2009. He is best remembered for the ‘Crashgate’ race-fixing scandal of Singapore 2008, when under instruction he deliberately crashed his car to help Alonso win.