India's Narain Karthikeyan, who has quickly adapted to stock car racing, hopes to hit the top ten bracket when he pilots the No.60 Chevrolet Silverado for Starbeast Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.
In his first ever race, the Coimbatore-based driver finished 13th on the lead lap to win the ‘Rookie of the Race' award. He followed it up with another strong show in his third race where he signed off 17th on the lead lap despite a blown engine during morning practice which caused him to start from the back of the pack.
Narain said the banking and the layout of the circuit were similar to that of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. “It is a good thing for us since we just raced there. They say the level of grip is a little bit less in Texas,” he said.
“It is going to be, kind of, interesting. Obviously, this is where you need to be confident with the truck, see how much you can lean on it and see how much speed you can carry through the middle of the corner to the exit. So we'll be working on that during practice and qualifying and hopefully have it figured out for the race,” he added. He said racing on banked ovals was completely different from the road courses that he had raced in open-wheel. “Of course, the trucks are very different from the single-seaters as well,” he said.
“I am getting more comfortable with it the more I race. But, to say that I have it down after three races is impossible. I'm still learning the nuances of the race car and each track as we go. My goal for Texas is to continue to improve, run well and finish the race. I keep reminding myself that this is a learning season so seat time is the key — continue to get comfortable with the truck and push it, but don't go crazy,” he said.
Miguel Abaroa, Starbeast CEO and Founder said: “There is a learning curve that every open wheel driver experiences to adjust to the type of racing in NASCAR, even if you have raced in Formula 1. This racing is just so different. Narain is progressing according to plan.”
“We see his talent and skill, not only in driving the truck but also in being able to feel what the truck is doing. Only great drivers have that ability.
“He is a very mature, smart driver who is progressing the right way,” he added.