Nelson Piquet's ARCA debut at Daytona next weekend will now be his first stock car race start, after the Brazilian decided to withdraw from this weekend's Free State 500 in South Africa.
The former Formula 1 driver had initially planned to contest the stock car event on the Phakisa oval prior to his U.S. racing debut but will now head straight to Daytona.
"Due to the close proximity of the next race in my USA program for 2010, the details of which have just recently become firmed up, and the logistics involved in getting back from the race in South Africa, I have unfortunately had to withdraw from the event," Piquet explained. "I would have loved to take part, but I have to concentrate on this race in America now. Hopefully, I'll be able to make it next year."
NASCAR veteran and 1986 Daytona 500 winner Geoff Bodine will start from pole in the Phakisa event, which will be South Africa's first race for NASCAR-style cars.
Piquet had also intended to contest the Mil Milhas endurance event at Interlagos last weekend, but was forced to miss this race as well when the Mitsubishi he was scheduled to drive suffered problems in practice. The ARCA season opener will therefore mark his first car racing start since he split with the Renault F1 team last summer.