Turner Motorsports announced today it will field four NASCAR Nationwide Series entries in the upcoming Sargento 200 at Road America. Brazilian drivers Nelson Piquet Jr. and Miguel Paludo will join full-time Nationwide Series championship competitor Justin Allgaier and Brad Sweet in the June 23rd race at the 4.048-mile road course in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
|Paludo and Piquet to Road America|
Paludo, who is slated to drive the No. 32 Chevrolet Impala, will be making his first career NNS start. A two-time champion in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Brazil, Paludo has extensive road racing experience, but has only made one start on a NASCAR road course circuit (Lime Rock Park in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, where he started and finished ninth). Paludo has made 34 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, with three Top-5 and 10 Top-10 finishes, with a best finish of third at Michigan International Speedway in August of 2011. Paludo also made history earlier this season at Daytona International Speedway by becoming the first Brazilian driver to win a pole in one of NASCAR's top-three series.
"I'm very excited to be making my first NASCAR Nationwide Series start, especially at Road America," said Paludo. "It's such a unique track with so many elevation changes and a very long, fast frontstretch. Our team tested at Virginia International Raceway this week and it was my very first time in a Nationwide Series car. We have such a solid team that I know we'll be going into the race really prepared. Last year, the No. 32 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet went to victory lane in that race, and I'm hoping that we can make it two years in a row."
Piquet Jr., scheduled to pilot the No. 30 Chevrolet Impala, has two previous career NNS starts. Hailing from the road course circuits of Formula 1, Piquet Jr. made his NNS debut at Watkins Glen International in 2010, earning a seventh-place finish, his best NNS finish to date. Piquet Jr.'s 35 NCWTS starts have resulted in one pole, seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. The 26-year-old Brazilian earned his first NASCAR victory earlier this season when he took the checkered flag at Bristol Motor Speedway in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
"I'm really looking forward to making my first Nationwide Series start of the season," Piquet Jr. stated. "I earned a top-10 in my very first Nationwide Series start, my first start on a road course in NASCAR, and I've grown a lot as a driver in the two years since then. The two tracks are quite different, but I spent a lot of my career on road courses before coming to NASCAR. The Turner Motorsports cars have been performing extremely well in the Nationwide Series this year, getting a win already in Daytona, so my expectation is that we can bring home a victory."
Piquet is guaranteed a starting spot in the field by virtue of the No. 30's full-time NNS status, while Paludo will have to qualify the No. 32 into the race on time because it has not accrued any owner points in 2012.