ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Showing glimpses of the talent that made his father a three-time Formula One champion gave Nelson Piquet Jr. the chance to race all over the world on some of the biggest stages in the sport. Now he wants to make it in NASCAR.
And he’s hoping Saturday’s Nationwide Series victory at Road America will help him catch the eye of a team owner willing to give his stock car racing career a boost.
“I think the best thing that could come out of this was to show team owners and bosses that I’m capable of doing it, if I just get the right car and the right team,” Piquet said.
The win makes Piquet the first Brazilian to win a race in NASCAR’s national touring series.
Michael McDowell was second, followed by Ron Fellows, Max Papis and Sam Hornish Jr.
Things didn’t work out so well for Danica Patrick after she ran with the leaders almost all afternoon.
Jacques Villeneuve collided with Patrick on the last lap as the two drivers were battling for a top-five finish, causing Patrick’s car to spin out. Villeneuve finished sixth, while Patrick recovered and finished 12th.
ROLEX SERIES: In Elkhart Lake, Wis., Scott Pruett took advantage of a late-race mishap by Ricky Taylor and held on to win the Grand Am Rolex sports car series race at Road America.
It was the first win of the season for the No. 01 BMW-Riley, driven by Pruett and co-driver Memo Rojas.
Taylor was leading under caution when his car appeared to break its suspension with less than 20 minutes left in the two-hour race. Pruett took the lead when the race restarted with about 12 minutes remaining and wasn’t seriously challenged the rest of the way.
The No. 8 Ford-Riley driven Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio finished second, followed by the No. 60 Ford-Riley driven by John Pew and Oswaldo Negri Jr.
The No. 69 Ferrari driven by Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal won the GT class.
GT driver Steven Bertheau was hospitalized after an accident. A series spokesman said he was awake and alert with no indications of a serious injury.
FORMULA ONE: In Valencia, Spain, Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel will start from the pole at the European Grand Prix for the third consecutive year.
The two-time defending Formula One champion has won the race the past two seasons. He had the fastest lap Saturday, finishing in 1 minute, 38.086 seconds on Valencia's 3.3-mile street circuit.
Lewis Hamilton, of McLaren, is also on the front row for today’s race. Pastor Maldonado’ of Williams’ will start third.
Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher’ of Mercedes’ failed to reach the third qualifying session. Schumacher, a seven-time F1 champion, will start between the pair in 12th place.