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Piquet focused on Talladega run
Following an altercation with Brian Scott on April 26 at Richmond International Raceway, Nelson Piquet Jr. is approaching this weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race as a fresh start.
"You have to, you know? It’s a new week and a new race,” said Piquet, who Friday qualified 16th for Saturday’s Aaron’s 312. “I’ll try to look forward and do my job.”
Piquet and Scott had contact on the track and again on pit road at the conclusion of last weekend's Richmond race. The drivers had to be separated, then were called to the NASCAR hauler to talk to series director Wayne Auton afterward.
Although the disagreement appeared to be settled, Piquet was later allegedly jumped by two members of Scott’s Richard Childress Racing team — Thomas Costello and Michael Scearce — on the way to his car. In addition to being arrested, Costello and Scearce were each fined $15,000 by NASCAR, suspended for the next four races and placed on probation until the end of the year. Both drivers and crew chiefs Chris Carrier (No. 30 car) and Phil Gould (No. 2 car) were placed on probation until June 26 for “actions detrimental to stock car racing.”
Does Piquet feel that the punishment fit?
NASCAR on FOX brings live coverage of the Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway on Sunday. The green flag drops at 1 p.m. ET, with coverage on FOX beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.
“I think NASCAR is doing what they can — what they should do,” Piquet said. “They’re policing it the right way. It’s not in my power to decide if it’s correct or not. NASCAR has more experience than me to deal with the situation. I’m sure they’ll do the right thing.”
Piquet, 27, spent Monday and Tuesday shaking down a truck for NASCAR at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (MoSport), the 2.459-mile road course in Bowmanville, Ontario, in anticipation of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at the track on Sept. 1.
Piquet was tabbed for the assignment because of his road-racing proficiency and the fact that he’s not expected to run the event. However, the former Formula One driver was victorious at Road America, the 4.048-mile road course in Elkhardt Lake, Wisc., in just his third Nationwide Series start.
Piquet, who is currently 14th in the NNS standings, has raced in everything from the Snow Ball Derby to the Grand Prix of Monaco. He says he is grateful for any seat time he’s offered.
“It was excellent,” Piquet said.” It’s always different. It’s always good for me to go back to road-course driving and I’ve never driven a road course in trucks so it’s always a new thing to do. I was pleased that NASCAR invited me to go there and do the test for them.
“Like I’ve said a few times, I’m very jealous — regret quite a bit — that I haven’t done what Kyle Larson did, which is racing all the time. It’s something that my father never really encouraged me to do. I’m not saying that I’m trying to catch up, but I’m trying to race as much as I can whether it’s go-karts or trucks or Nationwide or the X-Games GRC (GlobalRally Cross) thing. I want to drive as much as I can. I think it’s good for me.”