SPARTA, Ky. (October 3, 2011) – Nelson Piquet Jr. and the No. 8 team made their way back to Kentucky Speedway with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for the Kentucky 225 on Saturday night. The Brazilian native started the race from the third position and led a total of 40 laps before crossing the finish line fourth.
Just as the field roared to life, Piquet Jr. was shuffled back to the fourth position. The rookie driver remained in the fourth spot when the first caution waved on lap five for an accident in turn two. Being early in the race, the team elected to remain on track, leaving their driver to restart in fourth on lap 12.
During the restart Piquet Jr. slid back to sixth and alerted his Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) crew on lap 18 that the truck was tight. The team visited pit road during the second caution of the event that fell on lap 22 for an accident in turn two. The team filled the truck with fuel and made a chassis adjustment. The quick stop sent the team back on track to restart as the race leader on lap 25.
Back under green-flag conditions, Piquet Jr. began to pull away from the field creating a sizable lead over his fellow competitors. The rookie driver remained out front until lap 42 when an accident took place in turn two bringing out the third caution. The No. 8 team brought their driver down pit road on lap 43 for four tires and fuel. The stop positioned the driver in the ninth position for the lap 46 restart.
As green-flag racing resumed, Piquet Jr. patiently worked his way back toward the front, moving up to seventh by lap 51 when the caution was displayed for a fourth time for a multi-truck accident in turn four. The No. 8 team opted not to pit allowing their driver to restart sixth on lap 58.
Piquet Jr. gained two positions during the restart, moving into fourth by lap 59. The driver informed his KHI team that the truck was quite good as he moved into third on lap 61. As Piquet Jr. continued to work his way back to the top position, the caution flag waved for a fifth time for a spinning truck in turn four on lap 67. During the caution, the team brought the No. 8 Chevrolet down pit road to top off with fuel, sending their driver back on track to restart the race sixth on lap 70.
With a solid restart, the young driver quickly maneuvered his way around the competition and by lap 71, took over the lead. Piquet Jr. remained out front as a truck spun on the frontstretch bringing out the sixth caution of the evening on lap 80. The No. 8 KHI team again decided to stay off of pit road and restarted the race on lap 83 as the leader.
Just as the field came up to full speed, NASCAR officials displayed the caution flag for the seventh and final time on lap 87 for a spinning truck in turn two. During the caution, the team brought their driver down pit road for four tires and fuel. Being one of the only lead lap trucks to pit, the stop left Piquet Jr. to restart the race from the 17th position on lap 89.
As the field came to the restart, the crew reminded their driver to conserve as much fuel as possible to help the team make it to the end of the race without having to make another pit stop. Piquet Jr. informed the crew that the truck was tight and had no grip as he worked his way back into the top five by lap 123. Despite the tight handling issues, the rookie wheeled his way back into the lead on lap 134.
As Piquet Jr. made his way back out front, the crew determined they would not be able to make it to the end on fuel and called their driver to pit road one final time. During the lap 138 green-flag pit stop, the crew filled the truck with fuel and made a chassis adjustment. Back on track Piquet Jr. worked his way into the fourth position by lap 142 and set his sights to regain the lead, but time ran short leaving the No. 8 to cross the finish line in the fourth position.
The No. 8 KHI team and the Truck Series will head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on October 15 for the Smith’s 350. Tune in SPEED at 3:30 p.m. ET and listen to MRN at 3:00 p.m. ET.