RACING SOB AS LUZES (RACING UNDER THE LIGHTS): Rookie driver Nelson Piquet Jr. will make his first-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Bristol Motor Speedway when he and the No. 8 Qualcomm/Autotrac team travel to Bristol, Tenn. this Wednesday evening. As the Truck Series heads into the second half of the season, the young Brazilian driver and his Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) crew are focused on the momentum and confidence they gained during the first half of the season as they continue on their journey toward their first Truck Series victory.
SEARCHING FOR VICTORY IN BRISTOL: During the last eight seasons KHI drivers have made a total of 14 starts at the 0.533-mile oval earning one pole (2009), five top-five and eight top-10 finishes. The organization has also been credited with leading 142 laps at the short track, but has yet to lead the lap that is most important, the final one.
A HOMETOWN LEADER: Crew chief Chris Carrier will lead the No 8 team on his home turf when the Truck Series heads to Bristol this week. “I grew up only a mile and a half away from the track, and my parents still live in that same house today,” said Carrier. “I’ve always loved racing at Bristol,” Carrier continued. “Night racing at Bristol is like a December game at Lambeau Field, it’s the way racing should be. To me it’s the best racing there is and I can’t wait to head back there with my team.”
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 8 crew will unload chassis No. 044 this week in Bristol. This chassis will make its 2011 on-track Truck Series debut during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 200. It was previously used as the team’s back-up truck for the first portion of the season.
PREVIOUS RACE RECAP: Piquet Jr. and the No. 8 Autotrac/Qualcomm team took to the track at Michigan International Speedway for the VFW 200 on last Saturday afternoon. The rookie driver qualified the KHI Chevrolet Silverado in the eighth position for the Truck Series race and spent the majority of the 100-lap event running in the top 10 before getting loose and hitting the wall on the final lap. The accident left the driver with a 16th-place finish at the two-mile oval.
THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER: Nelson Piquet Jr.
How are you feeling about your first race at Bristol Motor Speedway?
“I’m excited for the race at Bristol. We have picked up some great momentum over the last few races and I’m hoping that carries over into this race. I think I’m doing a better job of learning each new track and how my truck handles. I go into each race with an open mind and really rely on my team for information. I have a great crew behind me with a lot of knowledge, which is great when you’re a rookie driver visiting new tracks.”
THOUGHTS FROM THE PIT BOX: Chris Carrier
What are the major characteristics of Bristol Motor Speedway?
“This is a track of survival. In my opinion Bristol is just a smaller version of Dover International Speedway, especially with the high banking. This track is so smooth since the resurfacing which really helps with the transition from the turns to the straightaways, but it is a track where you first have to survive to finish. I think Nelson is going to surprise a lot of people during this race. It’s a fast track with a lot of grip, and I think he’s going to adapt well.”
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