BROOKLYN, Mich. — Nelson Piquet Jr.’s gamble with fuel paid off in a big way Saturday at Michigan International Speedway, where he won the NASCAR Truck series VFW 200.
Piquet’s eight-second victory over runner-up Jason White wasn’t as comfortable as it seemed. After spinning with Kurt Busch on Lap 57, Piquet went the final 43 laps on one tank of fuel. As the laps wound down, it became apparent that Piquet was cutting it really close.
There wasn’t much worry in Piquet’s pit, however, where crew chief Chris Carrier said team engineer Andrew Overstreet had calculated the No. 30 Chevy’s gas mileage “to the quart.”
And sure enough, Piquet did not run out of gas – at least until he was doing his victory burnout on the front stretch.
“It came in a dramatic way, but it doesn’t matter: we did it,” said Piquet.
It was the third victory in three series this season for Piquet, a Brazilian who is the son of Formula One legend Nelson Piquet.
The younger Piquet, who came to the United States in 2010 after two seasons in Formula One, has already won a NASCAR Nationwide race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., and a K&N Pro Series East event at Bristol, Tenn.
It was his first victory in the Truck series, however. He had narrow misses earlier this season at Rockingham (seventh place after starting on the pole) and Pocono (third from the pole).
“For me, this is a little weight off my shoulders,” said Piquet. “I’ve been fighting for this for a while.”
Piquet’s father won 23 Formula One races and three championships from 1978-91.
“For my whole family, my whole name, the only thing I can say is that I’m just living to what our family always did, win races and championships,” said Piquet. “I have a whole different career than my father had in Europe. This is something different here in America and NASCAR.”
Rookie Dakoda Armstrong finished third behind Piquet and White. There is now a tie atop the points standings between Timothy Peters (who finished 13th) and Ty Dillon (sixth). James Buescher (fifth) is six points behind in third.