FORT WORTH, Texas (June 11, 2011) - Nelson Piquet Jr. finished in the 13th position at Texas Motor Speedway after getting shuffled out of the top 10 on the last lap in an exciting green-white-checker finish. The No. 8 Bozzano/Jontex Chevrolet Silverado had worked its way to the fifth position before the white flag waved. As the field raced out of turn four towards the checkered flag, the driver got loose and slid into the 13th-place.
The green flag waved on the WinStar World Casino 400k on Friday night in the steamy Texas heat, and Piquet Jr. looked to improve upon his previous finish of eighth in 2010 at the 1.5-mile track. Beginning in the 10th position, Piquet Jr. made his intentions clear that he was in search of a top-five, if not a win.
By lap four, Piquet Jr. expressed to the crew that his Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) Chevrolet was incredibly loose, and was having a hard time controlling the truck. The first caution flew on lap five, allowing the team time to strategize and assess how to work with the loose truck. Piquet Jr. was holding steady in the 13th position and looked to hit his marks and make consistent lap times.
Another caution flew on lap 22, and Piquet Jr. brought the No. 8 Bozzano/Jontex Chevrolet Silverado down pit road for fuel, four tires and an air-pressure adjustment to help resolved the loose-handling conditions.
Piquet Jr. remained consistent in the 13th position, and made gains in working with the handling issues. The field was slowed again on lap 50 for a wreck on the frontstretch, and crew chief Chris Carrier elected to take fuel only on the pit stop on lap 53. The pit strategy put Piquet Jr. in the seventh position to restart the race.
The young driver had worked his way into the top five for the first time during the event when the yellow flag dropped again on lap 66 for another accident on the frontstretch. Carrier elected to keep Piquet Jr. on track, keeping in line with his pit strategy, a move which placed the No. 8 Chevrolet in the lead for the restart.
When the green flag waved Piquet Jr. relayed that he was extremely loose and fell back into the 11th position as he worked on his handling. The No. 8 team had another opportunity to work on the truck when another caution flew on lap 88. Running in the 18th position at the time of caution, Carrier brought Piquet Jr. to pit road for the No. 8 crew to put on four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment in a continued effort to improve the truck’s handling.
Back under green-flag conditions, Piquet Jr. felt better about the truck’s handling and by lap 106 was battling for the seventh position. It was not long though until the field was slowed for another caution on lap 110. The No.8 KHI team came to pit road for their final pit stop of the night, bolting on four fresh tires, topping off with fuel and making further air-pressure adjustments to the Chevrolet Silverado to help with the handling. Another quick yellow on lap 117 provided another chance for the team to work on the truck, but Carrier made the call to stay out, and the No. 8 restarted in the 11th position.
Piquet Jr. was running in the seventh position by lap 134, and finessed his way up to the sixth position when the field was slowed once again on lap 136 for an accident. Running in the sixth position, Carrier and Piquet Jr. made the decision to stay out and looked to save fuel over the course of the caution laps.
By lap 153, Carrier told his driver that Piquet Jr. was the fastest truck on the track behind the race leader. He worked his way to the fifth position, and by lap 159 was tracking down the fourth and third-placed trucks.
A caution on lap 160 brought out the yellow flag for the 10th time in the event. The late-race caution put the No. 8 in the fifth position to line up for the green-white-checkered finish.
As the white flag dropped, Piquet Jr. looked to move up in the field and grab as many spots as he could on the last lap, but he got loose and tried to correct the truck. Fortunately, Piquet Jr. saved the truck before it turned or made contact with anything, but he lost eight spots before the checkered flag dropped. The driver ended his night in the 13th-position.
KHI teammate Ron Hornaday took the checkered flag capturing KHI’s second Truck Series victory of the 2011 season. The win comes on the heels of Clint Bowyer and the No. 2 team’s win last weekend at Kansas Speedway.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Kentucky Speedway on July 7 for the UNOH 225. The green flag will wave at 8 p.m. EST with live coverage on SPEED.
Comments from driver, Nelson Piquet Jr.:
“It was a very disappointing race. We fought with a loose truck for most of the race and could not seem to get our rhythm. I think that everyone on the team worked really hard all weekend, and I hate that we keep getting in these situations. I pushed a bit too hard at the end, which set us up for the 13th-place finish. We have a few weekends off on the schedule and then we will be back at it in Kentucky. Our team is really strong, and I can’t wait to get a win for these guys.”