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Piquet Jr. to keep on truckin'

June 28, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service, NASCAR.com

Brazilian-born former Formula One racer back into CWTS after Road America win

Nelson Piquet Jr. returns to his day job in the Camping World Truck Series this week. He hopes the moonlighting stint he took last weekend is worthy of an encore.

"I'm still looking for that win in the Truck Series."

--NELSON PIQUET JR.

Piquet and the rest of the Truck Series regulars return after a three-week layoff for Thursday night's UNOH 225 at 8 p.m. ET on SPEED at Kentucky Speedway. The former Formula One driver had a memorable break from the truck tour, prevailing in Nationwide competition at Road America to become the first Brazilian to win a NASCAR national-series event.

Piquet has shown steady improvement in his second full season in the Trucks Series, ranking sixth in the standings and capturing his first pole position earlier this year at Rockingham. While his road-course win last weekend was a confidence builder, Piquet is ready to take the next step on an oval track.

"We won the Elkhart Lake race, but I'm still looking for that win in the Truck Series," Piquet said. "And, obviously this year fighting for the championship, I think winning a race is going to make a big difference already. But the goal this year will be fighting for the championship. I think if we win this championship, that, obviously, is going to mean a lot to me and to a lot of people."

A Kentucky win by Piquet would continue a trend of new faces in Victory Lane. The truck tour has seven different winners in its first seven races, a series record.

Justin Lofton holds a slim lead in the Truck Series standings, but two drivers looking to make the tour 8-for-8 in unique winners this year are in close company behind him. Timothy Peters sits five points behind Lofton, and top rookie Ty Dillon is 12 points back in third.

If Peters is extra-optimistic, it's because offseason changes at Red Horse Racing have focused on raising performance on intermediate-size tracks such as Kentucky.

"I think we have exceeded our 1.5-mile program this year compared to last year," Peters said. "Every time we race at one of the tracks, we keep getting better. I'm really looking forward to these tracks. As a company, we have won at every track at other sizes except a 1.5-mile, and I think this year we are going to do it."