Raikkonen: I liked NASCAR a lot, it was a tempting idea before I decided to return to F1
10 November, 2013
During Kimi Raikkonen’s sabbatical from Formula 1, he tried his hand at rally and also NASCAR, and has now admitted that he thoroughly enjoyed his oval adventure and was tempted to give the stock car scene a serious go before opting instead to return to F1 with Lotus at the start of 2012.
Speaking ahead of the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, Raikkonen recalled, “In 2011 I tried NASCAR. I did two races on the Charlotte oval and I really liked it a lot. That was probably the experience I needed to open my eyes for racing again. After that I really wanted to come back to Formula 1, while it was a tempting idea to do more NASCAR too.”
Raikkonen’s possible NASCAR foray grabbed substantial headlines. At the time he explained, “I wanted to see how it is, how it feels. If I suck, there’s no reason to come back. We’ll see how it goes.”
“When I did some NASCAR races I noticed that I was increasingly missing the racing side, to race against each other, because in rallying you really race against the clock,” he mused.
On 20 May 2011, the Iceman made his debut in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway where he finished 15th out of 37 in the Perky Jerky Toyota Tundra, as teammate to team owner Kyle Busch.
A week later Raikkonen raced in the Nationwide Series, driving for Joe Nemechek. He finished 27th after having debris stuck under his car and getting a penalty for speeding in the pitlane.
His former 2005-2006 McLaren teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who made the switch from F1 to NASCAR, commented, “I think it would be cool if he comes here. He’s a cool guy and I think he would fit right in.”
Instead, in November the 2007 World Champion with Ferrari announced his return to Formula 1 as a Lotus driver. Raikkonen started his career with Sauber and drove for McLaren before moving to the Maranello squad.
Ahead of the United states Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the 2013 F1 World Championship, Raikkonen announced that he will not compete in the final two races of the season. Report here>>> (GP247)
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