Call this a case of tying up loose ends.
While F1B and others announced that Nelson Piquet Jr. would be testing NASCAR trucks in October, I’m not sure many of us followed up with what, exactly, happened.
Well…for those who have been holding your breath for the past couple of weeks—apologies. It’s just you had to dig into Nelson’s own web site to find the news . But dig we have, and I think you’ll agree it was well worth it.
A few highlights from Nelson’s quotes, which come at the bottom of the item:
“I was actually surprised at how fast it is on the oval.” Also, that the car did not suddenly crash on its own.
“Once you get used to the weight and the brakes and the power, I think you can find where the edge is and not go over. If you go too hard into the corner, you will spin out or hit the wall.” This also will tend to happen if you purposefully crash into the wall.
“I just want to meet a lot of people, visit with teams and ask a lot of questions.” But, yes, I hope to get a job somewhere, anywhere. Do you have an opening?
Here is the complete item from the site:
TOM DELOACH, Team Owner, Red Horse Racing
How impressed were you with Nelson Piquet and Vitor Meira during the recent test at Motor Mile Speedway?
“I was really impressed with both Nelson (Piquet) and Vitor (Meira). I anticipated that it would take a lot longer for them to get accustomed to the trucks once they started, and that they would be really hard on brakes. With his Indy Car experience, we figured Vitor would be more comfortable on the oval, but both drivers really adapted well. We made some changes to the trucks in hopes to give each driver certain feelings in the truck, and they both explained exactly what feedback we were expecting. Both drivers have very impressive skill sets, and they really exceeded my expectations for the first time in a Camping World Truck Series Tundra.”
What did both drivers adapt to in the truck that was a surprise?
“I think the biggest thing for drivers coming from different disciplines of racing is car control. These trucks are so heavy compared to cars that they are used to that it would be pretty easy to go too hard in the corner, have a hard time slowing it down enough to get a good corner exit. Both Vitor (Meira) and Nelson (Piquet) were turning impressive lap times, without really wearing out the brakes. That tells me that they understood early the importance of getting the truck slowed down, hitting their marks and accelerating early off the corner. That really impressed me.”
What were your impressions after your first laps on an oval?
“I was actually surprised at how fast it is on the oval. It’s a lot of fun, and not as easy as people might think it is. It takes a little different driving technique to be fast, but I was lucky to have a good team helping me adjust to some of the differences about driving an oval.”
How difficult is it to get used to braking in such a heavier race car than what you’re used to?
“I think it’s just natural as a driver. Once you get used to the weight and the brakes and the power, I think you can find where the edge is and not go over. If you go too hard into the corner, you will spin out or hit the wall. So really, it’s just natural for a driver to get used to braking points.”
How physically demanding is it to drive a stock car compared to a Formula 1 car?
“It’s a lot easier in the truck. Since the straights are so short, you’re almost always turning and it’s only to the left. And the lap times are so short. The biggest difference is mentally getting used to driving in circles. If you mess up in one corner, that’s half the track and your time will reflect that. You really need to stay focused and get into a rhythm because you’re trying to hit the same two marks over and over again.”
Are you interested in a NASCAR career?
“I’m just exploring at the moment. I just want to meet a lot of people, visit with teams and ask a lot of questions.”
I may be starting to like the post-scandal Piquet more than the pre-scandal one. At least I actually hear about him talking and doing stuff.