LONG POND, Pa. (August 8, 2011) — Nelson Piquet Jr. and the No. 8 Bozzano/Jontex team made their way to Long Pond, Pa., for the Good Sam RV Emergency Roadside Service 125 on Saturday afternoon. The Brazilian native qualified his Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) machine in the third position for the rain-delayed NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway and maintained position in the top 10 before misfortune found the team with a cut right-front tire. Falling as far back as 22nd, Piquet Jr. rallied to a 14th-place finish during the rookie driver’s first appearance at the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
As the field came to full speed Piquet Jr. was shuffled from third to fifth. The first caution of the race waved on lap four for debris on the track, leaving the No. 8 machine to restart in the fifth position. A second caution soon followed on lap seven for a three-truck accident on the frontstretch. The young driver resumed green-flag racing in the sixth position on lap eight but quickly returned to the top five by lap 10. Just as Piquet Jr. secured the fifth position, he informed the team that his truck was becoming quite tight.
The field continued to race under green-flag conditions when rain began to fall on the track, causing the third caution of the race on lap 15. Crew chief Chris Carrier took the opportunity to bring his driver down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment to help alleviate the tight-handling condition. Piquet Jr. returned to the track in the 15th position just as NASCAR officials displayed the red flag on lap 17 for the increasing heavy rain. After a lengthy delay for the weather, NASCAR postponed the race to the following morning.
The trucks returned to the track Sunday morning to resume the 50-lap event on lap 18. The field started under yellow conditions but returned to green-flag racing on lap 21 with Piquet Jr. restarting in the 15th position. By lap 22 the rookie worked his way into the top 10 and started to work toward the front, moving into ninth on lap 24. As the race reached the halfway mark, the Brazilian driver fell back into the 12th position after making slight contact with the outside wall. On lap 29, Piquet Jr. alerted his team that he felt like he had a tire going down. The driver made one more lap around the 2.5-mile tri-oval before informing his crew that he was coming in to pit.
Just as he was about to bring the No. 8 Chevrolet Silverado down pit road, the fourth caution fell for debris on the track on lap 32. Piquet Jr. drove his truck down to the team’s stall for the No. 8 crew to bolt on four fresh tires, add fuel and to check the vehicle for damage from the contact with the wall. As the driver left pit road, NASCAR informed the crew that they received pit-road penalties for pitting before pit road was open and for an uncontrolled tire during the stop. As a result, Piquet Jr. moved to the tail end of the longest line to restart the race on lap 34 in the 22nd position.
Back under green-flag conditions, Piquet Jr. maneuvered his way to the 17th position by lap 36. The fifth caution of the day fell on lap 37 for a three-truck accident in turn three. Piquet Jr. and the KHI team opted not to stop during the caution and restarted in the 17th position. With 10 laps remaining in the race, the driver worked his way into the 15th spot. The yellow flag waved for the sixth time on lap 43 for a stalled truck on the track. After the quick caution, the field resumed green-flag racing with five laps to go and the No. 8 Chevrolet in the 15th position.
Piquet Jr. relayed to the team that the truck was still very tight as he was shuffled back to 18th when the final caution came with only two laps remaining in the race setting up a green-white-checkered finish. The No. 8 machine restarted in the 17th spot, but fell back to 19th with one lap to go. On the final lap, the young driver powered his way past four trucks and crossed the finish line in the 14th position.
The Truck Series will make their way to Michigan International Speedway for the VFW 200 on Saturday, August 20. Watch the action live on SPEED at 12:30 p.m. ET and listen to MRN at 12:15 p.m. ET.