Vitor Meira was glad to sample NASCAR machinery for the first time after joining Nelson Piquet Jr. to test a truck series car this week.
Meira ran for Red Horse Racing last Tuesday at Motor Mile Speedway, driving a second Toyota Tundra around the 0.416-mile oval. Although he has previously stated that he plans to remain in the IndyCar Series, he was full of praise for NASCAR after getting a first taste of it on the track.
"I'm glad that I was able to test this truck to see exactly what it feels like to drive one of these things," Meira said. "Will this test lead to something in NASCAR and will I be able to take advantage of it? Time will tell. But, I'm really happy that I did it.
"For every driver in the world, if you don't look at NASCAR in good eyes, there is something wrong. It is a great form of racing, has great drivers and very good competition. They have done a great job to be recognized as one of the best motorsports, and any driver would be happy to be a part of it."
Despite his previous oval experience from IndyCar, Meira said driving the heavier NASCAR truck required a totally different approach than a single-seater.
"Coming into the test, I knew a little bit about ovals, but going from an Indy car to this truck, technically, I had to throw everything out the window," Meira said. "Everything from the terminology, to the feedback you give the engineers and the team to the way the team attempts to fix the problem is different.
"With the truck, many of the changes you can make to make it faster are mechanical, trying to find grip. It is like nothing I have ever done. Really, my road course experience in IndyCar and before, helped more than anything I have done on an oval. In the truck, you have to think of the track as a small road course.
"You have to be able to go hard into the corner and brake, but not too hard that you screw up the exit. That is the best way I can describe it."
Although Meira initially said his test was just to assist Piquet Jr, the 32-year-old ran his own program as the team had two cars for the day's running at the track.