Nelson Piquet claims maiden NASCAR Nationwide win at Road America, as Danica Patrick stars
|By Diego Mejia||Sunday, June 24th 2012, 00:34 GMT|
Nelson Piquet claimed his maiden NASCAR Nationwide Series win in commanding fashion at Road America on Saturday, while Danica Patrick enjoyed her best showing in NASCAR to date.
Brazilian Piquet, driving for Turner Motorsports, became only the fourth foreign driver to win in the second-tier series after starting from pole, following the right strategy and producing some clean overtaking moves while powering his way back to the front of the field after an early stop for fuel.
Once ahead following the final round of stops under caution the 26-year-old was untouchable and pulled away to take a first victory in a national NASCAR touring series, ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing's Michael McDowell.
"I knew I could do it, it was just a matter of being with the right team and I'm just so happy to bring this first Brazilian win in Nationwide," said a joyful Piquet.
Canadian Ron Fellows, also a former international winner in the series, was third for JR Motorsports ahead of Italian Max Papis, who came out best from a last-lap clash where Penske Racing's Jacques Villeneuve made contact with Patrick.
The female racer ended up in the gravel following the bump from the 1997 Formula 1 world champion and she rejoined to finish 12th after what had been her most competitive showing in NASCAR to date, racing aggressively among the road-course specialists.
"I ran top five all day," said Patrick. "That's the bummer that we weren't able to finish that off."
Villeneuve, who finished sixth, said previous contact with Papis caused him to end up on Patrick's rear bumper under braking.