Nelson Piquet Jr. claimed pole position for this afternoon's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Road America. The Brazilian, making only his third start in the second-tier series, set the benchmark by beating American Michael McDowell, a Sprint Cup regular in recent years, by nearly three tenths of a second.
Driving for Turner Motorsports, Piquet had been second and third quickest during practice on Friday, where 1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve was fastest for Penske Racing in the day's first session, with ex-F1 and Champ Car racer Max Papis topping the second one for Richard Childress Racing. They will start fourth and fifth respectively in Saturday's race.
Piquet's pole is his third in NASCAR this year, following similar feats on the ovals at Bristol in March in the K&N East series – where he went on to win – and then at Rockingham in the Camping World Truck Series in April.
The former F1 driver is running a second full-time season in Trucks, where he currently ranks sixth in the points, while making selected outings in Nationwide and K&N.