News & Media


Six Pack: Piquet a grilling master after tough questions

August 02, 2011, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

Nelson Piquet Jr., son of former three-time Formula One champion Nelson Piquet and driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet in the Camping World Truck Series, answers this week's six questions.

1. As a former Formula One driver yourself, how has the transition to NASCAR been?

"We grill meat. But we don't season it like Americans do. We just put a little salt and some extra virgin olive oil on it. You Americans, it's like you have a little meat with your seasoning."

--NELSON PIQUET JR.

Piquet: It's been great. I had to jump from one side of the wall to the other, once I decided what I wanted to do. And I'm happy with it. I didn't know exactly what kind of challenge I was going to face -- if it was going to be impossible or too difficult, or if it was going to be something that was good for me. It's been good for me.

I'm getting used to the [trucks] pretty quickly. In most of the races, we're running quick. There are just a few little experience problems I'm having, you know, like pushing too hard at the end of the races and not finishing. But pace-wise, we're top-three quickest nearly all of the time. That makes me even more enthusiastic to keep working at it and keep improving, keep getting better.

As far as off the track, where I'm living in Mooresville [N.C.], I'm really happy. It's a great place, my kind of living style. I live in a house on the lake [Lake Norman]. My family loves it there.

2. What kind of things keep you busy when you're not racing?

Piquet: Well, the thing about being in America, for me, is that there is a lot of traveling involved -- whether it's for racing or for sponsors or for family. There's always something going on. After Pocono [this Saturday], I'm going to take a week off to go to my house in the south of France. Then I come back and the next break I have after that is probably going to be used to make a sponsor appearance in Brazil. So there is quite a bit of traveling -- and there will be until I get everything centralized in America as far as sponsors, family and friends.

There are a lot of friends staying over at my place [in Mooresville] and with my [recent 26th] birthday [on July 25], there were even more friends coming by. I've got people sleeping on sofas, couches, in tents, everywhere in my house. I think we've got about 10 or 12 people sleeping at the house right now.

3. So you have a home in the south of France?

Piquet: Well, I have an apartment in Monaco still. It's a place I like and I have a lot of friends there.

4. How did your father react to your decision to begin driving in NASCAR?

Piquet: He didn't say much. He said, 'You do what you want. It's your life.' He did also say, 'I'll help you with anything I can, but I can't help you much -- because I don't know anything about NASCAR.' So he was more than happy for me to make this decision.

5. Is he starting to understand it better now?

Piquet: Yes. Slowly. He watches every race on TV. But until you come over here and really see what we do day to day, you can't really understand all that goes into it.

He knows my goal is to one day advance on to the Nationwide Series and then to [Sprint] Cup. How fast I progress is going to depend on how quick I can win in every series. If it takes two years to win [a Truck championship], I'll go up [to Nationwide] after that. If it takes three years, I'll go after three.

But I'm talking about winning championships before moving up, not just winning races. I think it's realistic. Maybe not this year, but starting next year for sure.

6. Anything about everyday life in America that has surprised you at all?

Piquet: I just bought a new gas grill. We grill meat. But we don't season it like Americans do. We just put a little salt and some extra virgin olive oil on it. You Americans, it's like you have a little meat with your seasoning. We have a lot of meat with a little seasoning. It's better that way.