Open-wheel stars such as Tony Stewart, Sam Hornish Jr., A.J. Allmendinger and Juan Pablo Montoya are competing on a full-time basis in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, even though the future for Hornish in the top-tier series is still pending.
In the past we have seen open-wheel drivers such as Patrick Carpentier, Jacques Villeneuve, Dario Franchitti and Scott Speed—who just lost his ride with Red Bull Racing—just to name a few, test their driving skills against NASCAR’s biggest stars.
The open-wheel invasion continues into the 2011 season with the signing of Formula One driver Nelson Piquet Jr., who will be driving in the NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series for Kevin Harvick Inc.
Piquet, who is a 25-year-old native of Brazil, will compete full-time in hopes of bringing KHI another championship along with the year-end Rookie of the Year award.
"I am very excited to join KHI and to drive in the Truck Series. I look forward to combining what I have learned this year from running five races in the series with the professionalism and experience of the KHI organization,” said Piquet, who will switch from the Toyota he ran last year to a Chevy Silverado.
Piquet also added, “I want to thank Kevin, DeLana and everyone at KHI for this opportunity. I am looking forward to our partnership and I can't wait to get out on the track in a KHI Chevrolet Silverado and start winning races."
"This is a very unique opportunity to have a driver like Nelson be a part of KHI," said co-owner Kevin Harvick during this morning’s press conference.
Piquet made his truck series debut at the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 Truck Series race, when he started 22nd and finished sixth ahead of such stars as Kyle Busch and the 2010 series champion Ron Hornaday Jr.
Piquet ran an additional four races in the trucks, along with running one Nationwide race as a road ringer at Watkins Glen, where he finished seventh.
Harvick was impressed with Piquet's progress when he stated, "In five starts in the Truck Series this season he not only gained valuable seat time but proved himself by getting some solid finishes.”
Harvick added, “We are excited to have Nelson as a part of our Truck Series program as he takes another step forward in his career."