Q & A with Nelson Piquet

Along with Jarno Trulli and Mika Salo, Nelson Piquet Jr was also a visitor at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. AUTOSPORT heard from the Brazilian on Sunday before the Sprint Cup series race

Q & A with Nelson Piquet

Q. So how was you Truck series test?

NP: It was fun, it was different. It was what I expected from these cars, but I obviously didn't expect much more, coming from where I came. But it was good. The team helped me a lot; it was good having everybody helping me to give me tips. I'm very thankful for Red Horse, for the whole team. They were very nice.

Q. How different was the car to what you expected?

NP: I did Le Mans before. I did a few races in Brazil, a 1000 kilometres we did with my father and we won. Finished fourth in Le Mans also. Had a little bit of a knowledge but obviously it's much more different. You're in an oval; the car is even much different as I was racing an Aston Martin. So still a little different, but had a bit of a knowledge.

Q. Did the test raise your interest more for NASCAR?

NP: Not only the test. I mean, driving these kind of cars is not really difficult. Actually it's quite simple. It's nothing compared to a Formula One car. But I think the difficult part here is NASCAR, is the racing in completely different.

In F1 if you're quick in the car, it's 70 per cent done, you need to race a little bit but if you're quick you're there.

NASCAR is different. Everybody is quick but you need to know how to race because it's so close, all the cars banging side-doors and touching each other all the time. So, that's the most difficult part to get used to.

Q. Do you like it here?

NP: Yeah, I think the important thing is enjoying the whole environment, not only the driving. But in the race, during the race if you're having fun, is not only by liking the car.

Obviously there's cars much better technologically. An F1 car, what I'm used to is the top of the world. I think as long as you're having fun it doesn't matter if you're racing a go-kart or if you're driving a NASCAR. If you're having fun and competition is good, that's important.

Q. Is this something you're seriously considering for your future?

NP: Obviously I'm trying to have as good as a look as I can over here. Trying to get a good feeling of what everything here is in America in case I have to make a decision to know what I'm going to feel.

I didn't want to take a decision of coming to America without knowing how things work here, so I've been spending these days here meeting drivers, team owners, and racetracks to really know what I'm getting into if I come here.

Q. Speaking to people here, are you getting some good advice?

NP: Well obviously I don't want to jump any stages if I come to America, I want to do it properly. I want to learn from the bottom. Coming from Formula 1 doesn't mean that I can come here and step into a Cup car. Obviously I don't think about that.

I really want to start with my head down and build myself up because it's a completely different kind of racing, you know. I want to arrive here in Cup because I earned it, not because I'm arriving from Formula 1.

Hopefully if I come, I'll start doing the East [Regional Camping World] Series, you know, maybe doing a few dirt races.

Q. How much have you followed Juan Pablo Montoya's progress?

NP: Well I mean. I raced in Europe with him. I've been following when he came to NASCAR, we tried to follow a little bit in Europe what he was doing here. Not very close, but as much as we could. I don't know what conditions he had, or why he struggled so much at the beginning but I mean, probably it was a different world and he was learning.

Q. Do you have a deadline to make your decision about next year?

NP: No, I'm searching for something to do the 24 hours of Daytona. That's my main goal at the moment, and then obviously exploring because if I decide to come here, then I already know what to do.

Q. Are you planning any further NASCAR tests for this year?

NP: No, not really.

Q. Is Formula One still possible in 2010?

NP: I'm close to Force India at the moment but obviously this is being very interesting for me, so I don't know. I'm still in the process of deciding what I'm going to do. Maybe spend one more year in Europe before coming here; it's still all up in the air.

Q. So you're racing at Las Vegas in the Supernational next week?

NP: Yeah, Schumi and Buemi as well, all the world champions, European champions, so it's going to be a very tough race. But I'm looking forward to it.

Q & A with Jarno Trulli
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