Nelson Piquet Jr. made his NASCAR debut last night in the Camping World Truck Series finishing a respectable sixth in an indecent packed race.
“It was an amazing feeling.” admitted Piquet, “I'm just so happy to be able to finish the race and staying out of trouble, sort of, I had my touches and bumps here and there, but I managed to keep the truck in my hands.”
One of the touches was an incident with another ex-F1 driver Max Papis, Piquet Jr admits that it was probably his inexperience that caused the shunt “Everybody was pushing and I had pushed one or two trucks before.” say Piquet, “He (Papis) came out, he was by himself, I went to push him and I don't know if I pushed him on the wrong side or if our bumpers didn't line up or what happened. The moment that I touched him, he just went off.”
Most seasoned NASCAR drivers would put this behind them but Piquet admitted he felt guilty about the push, “I really felt bad, I didn't know if it was the right time to apologize on the radio, but I have to give him an apology.” before going on to say about the huge learning curve he’s on at the moment, “I don't know if it was wrong because I'm still getting used to things over here. I don't know if people hit and take chances of the car in front of me. Several times they hit me and I had to hold on. I tried to do the same and line up with everybody and do the same and it didn't seem to work out very well. I don't know if it was my fault or his fault, but I just want to say, 'Sorry,' to him.”
Piquet Jr made his stock car debut a week ago in the ARCA series at Daytona where he finished a lowly 27th place, “It's much better than last week.” he admits, “I learned so much last week that it helped me a lot for this race.”
With the ARCA and NCWTS races forming part of the Daytona speedweeks it’s been a lot for the young Brazilian to take in, but he’s enjoyed his experience, “I knew that today would be the big day where I would really feel what is NASCAR and what is bumping and racing here in America. I really felt it. I understand now why drivers just want to come back and race three or four races in a weekend. They don't care. It's really a lot of fun and once you get to know everybody and start bumping side-by-side with a friend of yours or even with a brother, it's a whole big family over here so it's really good.”