NASCAR: What To Expect from Nelsinho Turning Left in the Deep South

Daniel ZylberkanCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2010

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 21:  Renault Formula One team former driver Nelson Piquet Jr leaves the F.I.A headquarters after attending the World Motor Sport Council hearing on September 21, 2009 in Paris, France. Renault will not contest the charges that Nelson Piquet Jr. was ordered by management to deliberately crash his car during the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix, the crash caused the deployment off the safety car, due to team mate Fernando Alonso's race strategy he was able to win the race. The incident has already seen the resignation of  team principal  Flavio Briatore and Director of Engineering, Pat Symonds. The punishment from the FIA could be exclusion of the team from F1, a large fine or a suspended ban.   (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Much like his father before him, Nelsinho is leaving the glitter and prestige of Formula One for a life of turning left here in the good 'ole US of A. But unlike his father who left Formula One as only the third three time World Driver's champion, Nelsinho is leaving Europe disgraced, discredited and with a feeling that he's only gotten anywhere because of his name.

Juan Pablo Montoya also left Formula One for a foray into stock cars, but comparing Nelsinho and JPM is like comparing a Bobby Allison to Martin Truex Jr. They're just not in the same league.

More importantly Montoya only left because he was assured of having support of one the best, biggest and brightest racing enterprises on this side of the Atlantic, Chip Ganassi. Who coincidentally was also JPM's boss during his domination in CART. The Ganassi machine assured JPM of at least some success he a consistent finisher on ovals and downright masterful when the road gets twisty.

But on to Nelsinho, despite his "questionable" character as some would put it and not the most sparkling record in Formula One, he's still not a bad driver especially on road courses which very few of the NASCAR veterans are very good at. With a few exceptions like Robbie Gordon, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.

Other open-wheel guys haven't fared so wel in the recent years in NASCAR, Sam Hornish Jr, Dario Franchitti, Scott Speed, AJ Allmendinger have not fared so well in the sport.

They expect that NASCAR will be easier than open wheel racing, but it takes a special kind of skill to drive one of those big, heavy beasts around a track like Talladega at nearly 200 miles per hour, the brakes aren't as good, cars have less downforce and grip and are surprisingly hard to find a good set up on.

I don't expect much from Nelsinho, he's going into this with a definite view of it as a safety or a "fall back" and what's the biggest irony? He will fail at NASCAR too and end up in Stock Car Brazil just like all of the other failures.


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