Crew Chief Changes Mean Nelson Piquet Jr. May Be On Thin Ice With Turner-Scott Motorsports
Turner-Scott Motorsports is arguably the most successful team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series right now. Both Justin Allgaier and Kyle Larson are NASCAR Sprint Cup Series-caliber drivers, while James Buescher and Jeb Burton are drivers with massive upside.
Lost in the shuffle is former Formula One driver Nelson Piquet Jr. Despite a world-class driving pedigree, Piquet has been marred in controversy for his behavior, including kicking Brian Scott in the groin. Combined with a dismal season against high expectations in elite equipment, Piquet’s run in NASCAR may have stalled out.
Piquet’s season, his first in the Nationwide Series, has yielded only three top-10 finishes in 22 races, with no top-five runs despite three road course races on the schedule. In fact, Piquet’s race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last weekend was abysmal, filled with contact and a crash that resulted in a 27th-place finish.
As a result of Piquet’s poor performances, Chris Carrier will be shifted to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Pat Tryson, David Reutimann’s Sprint Cup Crew Chief, will shift over to Piquet. Tryson has fallen from grace over the years, and only has 11 Nationwide Series races under his belt. This combination does not make much sense, but if Piquet does not show signs of life in the upcoming weeks, there is reason to believe his time in NASCAR may be limited.
One of the major reasons indicating that Piquet is under scrutiny is not only the current plethora of talent Turner-Scott has in the Truck Series, but the emerging talent which they will be putting on display in the form of Cale Gale and Ben Kennedy, who will split time in the truck for the remainder of the season. The fact they have made personnel changes to coincide with Kennedy’s debut proves that the team may be ready to move on soon.
Kennedy has had an impressive 2013 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East with two wins and six top-10 finishes in nine races, which is good enough for third in points. He has improved every year with the series and looks to be on the fast track to success, meaning that a shift may be coming sooner than expected.
Every team is hunting to find the next unsigned talent. Turner-Scott Motorsports is no exception. And while having a veteran on roster is important, it is becoming apparent that Nelson Piquet Jr. should be on his way out.
Follow Mike Guzman on Twitter @Mike486