Nelson Piquet is set to combine a second full season in NASCAR's Truck series with a partial Nationwide schedule in 2012. The 26-year-old Brazilian will return for a second full season in Trucks with Turner Motorsports, while adding up to seven Nationwide outings to his 2012 schedule.
Piquet drove for Kevin Harvick's team KHI this year but the squad, which claimed the owners' title this season, will not be returning for 2012. Turner Motorsports, a Chevrolet team that gets support from Hendrick Motorsports' engine department, was in contention for the series title this year with driver James Buescher, who ranked third in the final standings.
After finishing fourth in Friday's Truck Series season finale, Piquet was runner up for rookie honors this year. He claimed six top-five finishes through the 25-race schedule, ranking 10th in the overall drivers' standings. The former Formula 1 racer says his debut season has prepared him for having a shot at the title with Turner next year, which he claims is his main goal looking ahead.
"We went close to winning maybe two or three races this year," Piquet said. "Unfortunately, the season ended and we didn't win any but at the end of the championship we were always running up there, close to the big guys that have many years of experience. So I'm sure next year we'll be better prepared and I'm sure we're going to be fighting for this championship.
"I'm very hard on myself and a driver always wants a bit more. Obviously, I would've wanted to win rookie of the year and we were close, so it was a shame. We missed out on two, three points. The most positive is I learned so much from beginning to end and that's going to be the key for 2012. It will take more than a year for me to become a NASCAR driver, but I think we're getting there."
Piquet completed his first Nationwide outing for Turner Motorsports on Saturday, finishing 24th in his first oval race in the series.