In his first Nationwide Series race of the year, Nelson Piquet Jr took the checkered flag. Piquet Jr has a history of road course racing and he dominated in his first NASCAR road course event. Piquet Jr won the pole and led early. Strategy took place early when Michael Annett and Ricky Stenhouse Jr pitted for fuel on lap one. Then a lap later, Sam Hornish Jr pitted. Hornish Jr was issued a penalty for equipment removed from his pit box following his stop. On lap three, Michael McDowell, driving Joe Gibbs Racing’s No.18 car, took the lead from Piquet Jr.
After the leader pitted on lap five, Ron Fellows inherited the lead. Fellows would be passed for the lead on lap nine when he had a flat left front tire. Brian Scott would then move into the lead. The first caution of the day came out on lap 11 when T.J Bell spun in turn four. Most of the leaders would pit before the restart came. McDowell was the leader coming to the restart. On lap 16, Max Papis would take the lead from McDowell. The second caution of the day came on lap 17 when a piece of debris was found on the front stretch. The No.32 of Miguel Paludo was the leader followed by Danica Patrick.
Then on lap 21, for a brief time, Danica was the leader after she passed Paludo for the lead. Then in turn five, Danica got loose and Paludo slid passed her to re-take the lead. On lap 21, Paludo came down pit road and Jacques Villeneuve took the lead. The halfway point of the race was approaching quickly. The race was only fifty laps due to the four mile course that took over two minutes to maneuver around.
The top five at halfway included; Villeneuve, Piquet Jr, Fellows, Patrick and Whitt. On lap 31, the caution flag flew for the No.75 car of Kenny Habul, who got into the tire barriers in turn five. Shortly after the restart, McDowell got into Villeneuve and spun him around but no caution flew. The next caution came out on lap 33 when T.J Bell got his car stuck in a gravel trap. Justin Allgaier was having a good day until one of his tires locked up and then Allgaier got off course and into the turn five gravel trap on lap 37. Allgaier would go on to finish tenth.
Not even one lap after the restart, Villeneuve got into point’s leader Elliot Sadler, turning Sadler into the wall. No caution flew and Sadler made a pit stop to repair the damage. On the final lap, a group of cars including Villeneuve and Danica were racing going into turn five and Villeneuve got into Danica and spun her into the gravel trap. That incident took a great finish away from Danica. Villeneuve is a familiar face when you mention trouble at road course races. He has been known to race rough and get into trouble with NASCAR.
While this was going on, Nelson Piquet Jr was taking the checkered flag. Piquet Jr is originally from Brazil and he carried a Brazilian flag around during his celebration. He is the first Brazilian to win a NASCAR race. Piquet Jr said in victory lane after the race that he “just took control. The last lap incident between Villeneuve and Patrick wasn’t forgotten about after the race.
Villeneuve commented in an interview with ESPN that the last lap incident “had nothing to do with me so I really don’t care.” If you watched the race, you could clearly tell that Villeneuve was the main cause of the last lap incident. Villeneuve finished in the sixth position. Danica avoided talking about the last lap incident but she did reflect on her incredible day. She said she felt like everybody raced clean by saying “I felt like everybody kept their noses clean.” Danica finished in the twelfth position.
Once again the race at Road America featured controversy and triumph. Jacques Villeneuve refused to race cleanly and Nelson Piquet Jr won his first race in NASCAR’s top three series. Piquet Jr will now go out and try to win his first Camping World Truck Series race and possibly contend for the championship. Overall, the race at Road America didn’t disappoint. Tomorrow, the Sprint Cup Drivers will race around the road course out in Sonoma, California. The race is set to begin around three eastern and twelve pacific.
Results via Nascar.com
|1||1||30||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Chevrolet||Qualcomm / Autotrac||0||50||Running|
|2||2||18||Michael McDowell||Toyota||Pizza Ranch||0||50||Running|
|3||3||5||Ron Fellows||Chevrolet||AER Manufacturing||0||50||Running|
|4||5||33||Max Papis||Chevrolet||Menards / Rheem||0||50||Running|
|5||8||12||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||Alliance Truck Parts||40/1||50||Running|
|6||4||22||Jacques Villeneuve||Dodge||Discount Tire||39/1||50||Running|
|7||6||11||Brian Scott||Toyota||Dollar General||38/1||50||Running|
|8||22||54||Kurt Busch||Toyota||Monster Energy||0||50||Running|
|9||14||88||Cole Whitt *||Chevrolet||Voodoo Ride||35/0||50||Running|
|11||11||6||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||Ford EcoBoost||33/0||50||Running|
|13||19||44||Mike Bliss||Toyota||Mark Smith Racing||31/0||50||Running|
|14||15||81||Jason Bowles *||Toyota||American Majority||30/0||50||Running|
|16||20||275||Kenny Habul||Toyota||SunEnergy 1 Racing||0||50||Running|
|17||17||199||Victor Gonzalez Jr.||Toyota||Delta Commercial / IMCA||0||50||Running|
|18||23||3||Austin Dillon *||Chevrolet||AdvoCare||26/0||50||Running|
|19||28||01||Mike Wallace||Chevrolet||G&K Services||25/0||50||Running|
|20||16||38||Brad Sweet *||Chevrolet||Great Clips||24/0||50||Running|
|21||29||14||Eric McClure||Toyota||Hefty / Reynolds Wrap||23/0||50||Running|
|24||37||70||Tony Raines||Dodge||Country Inn & Suites||0||50||Running|
|25||26||51||Jeremy Clements||Chevrolet||Clements Automotive||19/0||50||Running|
|26||12||43||Michael Annett||Ford||Pilot Flying J||18/0||48||Running|
|27||36||23||Bill Prietzel||Chevrolet||R3 Motorsports||0||48||Running|
|28||27||126||John Young||Dodge||Eklekt Technologies Group||0||47||Out Of Fuel|
|29||9||32||Miguel Paludo||Chevrolet||Duroline Brakes and Components||0||47||Running|
|30||24||19||Tayler Malsam||Toyota||G-Oil / Ryobi||14/0||46||Running|
|31||32||39||Josh Richards||Ford||NSW Kids||13/0||41||Running|
|32||34||124||Casey Roderick *||Chevrolet||West Virginia Miners||12/0||40||Running|
|33||18||87||Alex Kennedy||Toyota||Global Barter / St. Baldricks||0||38||Running|
|34||42||4||Matthew Bell||Chevrolet||Extreme Bidder||10/0||36||Running|
|35||21||159||Kyle Kelley||Chevrolet||Jamison Eng. / UPR.com||0||29||Engine|
|36||41||89||Morgan Shepherd||Chevrolet||Schneider Electric||8/0||26||Handling|
|37||43||50||T.J. Bell||Chevrolet||Beaver Bail Bonds||7/0||24||Rear End|
|38||40||108||Matt Frahm||Ford||Randy Hill Racing||6/0||14||Brakes|
|39||35||52||Ryan Ellis||Chevrolet||Cobblestone Inn & Suites||5/0||4||Ignition|
|41||31||47||Matt DiBenedetto||Chevrolet||Curtis Key Plumbing||3/0||3||Overheating|
|43||30||10||Jeff Green||Toyota||TriStar Motorsports||1/0||2||Vibration|