The 27-year-old driver, who is competing in his first full season in the NNS for Turner Scott Motorsports, became the first Brazilian to win in one of NASCAR's top-three national touring series events when he took the checkered flag last year at Road America. Piquet Jr. went on to win two more races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2012, while also earning the series' Most Popular Driver and Most Improved Driver awards. Piquet Jr. is a former Formula One driver and is the son of three-time Formula One world champion, Nelson Piquet.
"With a talented driver like Piquet, Jr., his international presence and a venue like Chicagoland, Hooters is proud to represent the number 30 car as we celebrate our 30th birthday this fall," said Dave Henninger, chief marketing officer, Hooters of America. "The sponsorship gives us a special opportunity to showcase the contemporary evolution of Hooters, while paying tribute to our rich history that includes a longstanding relationship within the sport of stock car racing."
Part of the Hooters evolution is the expansion of the casual dining restaurant brand into international markets. Chanticleer Holdings, which secured exclusive rights to operate Hooters restaurants in parts of Brazil earlier this year, plans to announce its first Brazil location in the near future.
"Hooters is such an iconic brand and has a rich history in the sport of stock car racing," Piquet Jr. said. "It's truly an honor to celebrate Hooters' first 30 years and also the brand's growth in global markets like my home country of Brazil."
The official No. 30 Hooters car design was first revealed to the NASCAR world today via Piquet, Jr.'s Twitter account: @nelsonpiquet. After a series of Hooters clues, Piquet, Jr., unveiled the sleek design that will hit the racetrack in Chicago with the new, modern Hootie owl logo. The design is an intentional nod to the past, painted in the iconic Hooters orange and white color scheme and modeled to pay homage to the famous No. 7 car of the late NASCAR champion and Hooters-sponsored driver, Alan Kulwicki.
This year also marks 20 years since a tragic airplane accident took the lives of Kulwicki along with Hooters executives Mark Brooks, Dan Duncan and Charlie Campbell. Dedicated to preserving their memory, Hooters will host the 20th annual Hooters Memorial Cup Golf Tournament on Sept. 16, two days after the Chicagoland race, in Marietta, Ga. This special fundraising event has helped generate more than $8 million to-date for the Hooters Community Endowment Fund, which contributes to many of Hooters philanthropic endeavors.
In November 1992, just months before the accident, one of Hooters fondest NASCAR memories occurred as Kulwicki took second place in the season-ending Hooters 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway to clinch the Winston Cup Championship by a mere 10 points, the closest margin in NASCAR history at the time. The race is often regarded as one of the best in NASCAR history, marking the final start in the career of legendary driver, Richard Petty, and series debut for future champion, Jeff Gordon.