Nelson Piquet Jr. made his return to NASCAR at Mid-Ohio on Sunday. but apparently, if he had things his way, he never would have left the series.
Piquet raced in NASCAR from 2010 until 2014 when his sponsors pulled out. With no backing, the Brazilian driver was left without a ride, but prior to Sundays race, he told Motorsport.com if it were his choice he never would have left NASCAR.
“I just felt that NASCAR themselves didn’t see the need for a different demographic of people, considering me — let’s say — a Latin driver,” Piquet told Motorsport.com. “You could even see it with the case of Travis Pastrana; He didn’t really have the sponsors and stepped away from NASCAR without the support. I felt the same thing. And if Travis can’t find sponsors, what chance do I have?”
According to Piquet, even though NASCAR is becoming more diverse it still isn’t perfect. He said once he lost his backing, it felt like NASCAR was more concerned about helping American drivers than outsiders.
Despite his experience, which caused him to return to European racing, Piquet still thinks very highly of NASCAR.
“The racing over here is like nowhere else,” Piquet said, via Motorsport.com. “All the drivers from Europe ask me about it and I always say, ‘real racing is NASCAR.’ There’s no data acquisition, none of that stuff, it’s hard work between the driver, crew chief and mechanics.”
Perhaps everything happens for a reason, though. Had it not been for his lack of sponsorship in NASCAR, Piquet never would have earned his spot in motorsport history as the first-ever Formula E champion.
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Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images