January 12, 2010
Forget Danica -- NASCAR's about to get a much more interesting import.
Nelson Piquet Jr., a former Formula One driver for Renault whose F1 days ended in controversy, has revealed that he's coming to NASCAR in 2010. Piquet indicated on his website that his "first 18 months in F1 did not go as planned," which is putting it mildly.
In NASCAR terms, Piquet makes Kyle Busch look like Joey Logano. He competed in 28 races for Renault, but got the boot in August. He threw the sport into even more chaos than it usually has when he charged that he deliberately crashed his car in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix -- on the orders of his team -- to help teammate Fernando Alonso win. Piquet, the son of three-time F1 champion Nelson Piquet, had complained incessantly that his team favored Alonso. The resulting exposure from the crash kicked off a huge scandal in F1, with charges (Piquet: I was a patsy) and countercharges ("Witness X": It was Piquet's idea) flying back and forth.
Seems like a perfect fit for Joe Gibbs Racing, doesn't he?
Anyway, Piquet does the requisite big-talking, which is a refreshing change from the "we'll see what happens" milquetoast quotes from most drivers. "NASCAR is hugely challenging and nobody has ever come in as an outsider before and gone on to win it," Piquet wrote. "It will be the ultimate challenge. This will be an awesome new challenge for me, and a healthy one."
Question now is, where does Piquet end up? The big-time teams don't have much room for new drivers, and certainly not for drivers that a) need time to adjust and b) will be bitching about prominence almost from the word go. Still, it'll be a bit more drama -- and, for those of you who love the automotive series rivalries, it's another case of somebody coming to NASCAR, not from it.
Piquet Jr. says he's switching to NASCAR [AP via Yahoo! Sports]
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