Piquet Nation's Debut at Daytona

Mason DunnCorrespondent IFebruary 8, 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

Not to be confused with the currently popular PK Nation (fans of Penske driver Parker Kligerman), Piquet Nation may well be on the verge of creation after former F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr.'s introduction to the stock car world in last Saturday's Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA series race.

Driving for defending series champion owner Eddie Sharp in the car that won the championship with Justin Lofton behind the wheel, Piquet Jr. started the weekend off well—qualifying a strong seventh out of the 51 cars that took time.

Now the race was not all good for Piquet Jr., who—despite running in the front of the pack for most of the day and avoiding the well-known "big one" crash, which collected ten cars in this year's edition—ended the day still on the track, but 13 laps down, in the 27th position.

The unfortunate side for Piquet Jr. was his involvement in accidents with both nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel as well as fellow stock car newcomer Danica Patrick, which led to his finish outside of the top 20, despite running in the top 10 for most of the day.

But there is a light at the end of this short tunnel for Piquet Jr. Much like fellow newcomer Danica Patrick, Piquet Jr. will get another crack at the 2.5 mile track later this week, as he will drive the No. 1 Red Horse Racing Toyota in Friday's NextEra Energy Resources 250 Camping World Truck Series race.

Piquet Jr., who was without teammates in the ARCA race, will have two strong teammates in the CWTS race on Friday in series veteran Timothy Peters and fellow rookie, and 2009 ARCA series champ, Justin Lofton.

"I'm very excited! The size of the Daytona track is amazing. I can't wait to reach 200mph side-by-side in a tight drafting pack of trucks!" Piquet said in a recent interview. "The plans for the season are coming together really well. I can't wait to get out on track and start my NASCAR career!"

Obviously the truck series will be a brand new experience for Piquet Jr., who only has minimal testing at a short track in a truck on his record, but under the guidance of a team like Red Horse, and with teammates like Peters and Lofton, don't be surprised to see Piquet Jr. running towards the front of the pack come Friday night under the lights of Daytona.


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