Saturday, June 23, 2012

Nelson Piquet Jr. wins in dominating fashion at Road America

Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR
From pole to victory lane, Nelson Piquet Jr.'s first race at Road America showcased his talent gained in Brazil and the United Kingdom. Piloting the No. 30 Qualcomm/Autotrac Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports, Piquet climbed into the unfamiliar view of a Nationwide car as opposed to his normal seat behind the wheel of a NASCAR Camping World Truck. Piquet's win marks his first in a combined 40 starts.

Leading two times and for a total of 19 laps, Piquet was the star of the race. Other lap leaders include Jacques Villeneuve (10 laps), Brian Scott (5 laps) and Michael McDowell, Miguel Paludo and Ron Fellows each with 4 laps.

The memorable win for Piquet is going to be overshadowed by a continued story on the road courses, rough racing by Jacques Villeneuve. After running in the top five for most of the Sargento 200, Villeneuve spun Danica Patrick on the last lap. Able to recover, Patrick finished a disappointing 12th while Villeneuve brought the No. 22 home in 6th.

“When I was behind Danica and Papis was on the outside, maybe he didn’t know I was there, but down the straight, he pushed me in the grass just before I hit the brakes,” Villeneuve explained post-race. “When I jumped on the brakes. … I couldn’t slow down because of that.”

“The bummer is we weren’t able to finish that off and finish with a top five like I felt we deserved,” Patrick said. “The guys did a great job in the pits. They were awesome. … People sort of say I don’t get good results, but today I ran well, and I feel like lately we’ve been running much better but we just haven’t sort of finished the deal.”

Both fans and media jumped on Team Danica, or perhaps just team anti-Jacques. Tweets poured in protesting Villeneuve's rough driving throughout the race and questioning why NASCAR did nothing. So, I pose this question to you: should NASCAR be more pro-active for reckless driving?

Race results: 

FIN CAR DRIVER
1 30 Nelson Piquet Jr.
2 18 Michael McDowell
3 5 Ron Fellows
4 33 Max Papis
5 12 Sam Hornish Jr.
6 22 Jacques Villeneuve
7 11 Brian Scott
8 54 Kurt Busch
9 88 Cole Whitt *
10 31 Justin Allgaier
11 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
12 7 Danica Patrick
13 44 Mike Bliss
14 81 Jason Bowles *
15 2 Elliott Sadler
16 75 Kenny Habul
17 99 Victor Gonzalez Jr.
18 3 Austin Dillon *
19 1 Mike Wallace
20 38 Brad Sweet *
21 14 Eric McClure
22 41 Timmy Hill
23 40 Erik Darnell
24 70 Tony Raines
25 51 Jeremy Clements
26 43 Michael Annett
27 23 Bill Prietzel
28 26 John Young
29 32 Miguel Paludo
30 19 Tayler Malsam
31 39 Josh Richards
32 24 Casey Roderick *
33 87 Alex Kennedy
34 4 Matthew Bell
35 59 Kyle Kelley
36 89 Morgan Shepherd
37 50 T.J. Bell
38 8 Matt Frahm
39 52 Ryan Ellis
40 46 Chase Miller
41 47 Matt DiBenedetto
42 42 Tim Schendel
43 10 Jeff Green

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