Nelson Piquet Jr. claimed a breakthrough second-place finish in Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Nashville Speedway. The Brazilian was making his 10th start in the series, which he joined in 2010, in the fifth points event of the year. He qualified an impressive fourth in what was his first race at the 1.33-mile concrete oval and ran in the top 10 all night. Piquet started moving toward the front in the deciding stages of the race, enjoying a number of close battles including one with Richard Childress Racing's Austin Dillon, who spun on the inside of Piquet while battling for fourth place.
The former Formula 1 driver, who is in his first full season in NASCAR driving the No. 8 Chevrolet Silverado for KHI – owned by Kevin Harvick – was fourth at the final restart of the race, the green flag waving with only three laps remaining. While former series champion Ron Hornaday tried to beat a dominant Kyle Busch, Piquet quickly moved up to third by driving around the outside of former Red Horse Racing teammate and Truck race winner Timothy Peters.
Busch was finally able to get back in the lead before the white flag waved and behind him Piquet attacked his KHI teammate Hornaday for the runner-up spot, eventually passing the four-time series champion on the inside of Turn 2 on the last lap.
"I'm so happy! We had a very complicated start to the year, but I knew the results would come," said Piquet who had two DNFs out of four races entering this weekend's event, after racing with a sprained ankle at Martinsville three weeks ago.
"In reality, the season has just started for me. I hope to keep racing better and better for the rest of the year. Even more than scoring the second-place result, this race was so worthwhile for learning. It is very important to keep learning different skills here because it is a very different kind of racing to open-wheel and to show maturity. The team has to be able to know I can do it and be confident in me."
Busch, driving for his own team, completed the milestone of 20,000 laps led across NASCAR's national series, on his way to his second win of the season out of four outings this year. It was also the third 2011 victory for his outfit, which is set to field 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen for his Truck Series debut on May 20 at Charlotte.