Nelson Piquet Jr. had plenty of positives to savor in his first visit to Rockingham Speedway, but the turn of events in the second half of NASCAR's return to The Rock left a sour taste.
A pit-road penalty for speeding derailed Piquet's bid for his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory Sunday, leaving him settling for seventh place in the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200.
Piquet won the pole position in Saturday's qualifying and appeared poised to make the race a runaway, leading 103 of the first 123 laps. But a longer pit stop during the race's third caution period bumped him back to fifth place.
He worked his way back up to second place behind race winner Kasey Kahne, but was nabbed for speeding on the 176th lap, during the race's final yellow flag. The penalty made him the last truck on the lead lap, leaving Piquet 12th for the final restart.
"We had lost position on one pit stop and I was trying to recover it back on another pit stop. So we speeded a little bit trying to find the limits, so unfortunately, it wasn't a race which we could've won," Piquet said. "Obviously, it wouldn't have felt that bad if we weren't in that position."
Piquet's penalty was for being too fast exiting the pits, which was no easy feat considering he owned the first pit stall as the pole winner. One stall in front of him was left vacant for TV's use, which added some real estate for Piquet ahead of the final pit-road timing line.
Piquet gained two spots to take sixth place in the points standings after his second top-10 finish in three races this season.