Former F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan to make Truck debut
Former Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan will become the first driver from India to race in NASCAR when he competes in the Truck Series’ Kroger 250 March 27 at Martinsville Speedway.
|Narain Karthikeyan. NASCAR's penetration into the Indian market has been huge. There is more media coverage in India than Karun Chandhok in Formula One|
Karthikeyan will drive the No. 60 Wyler Racing truck in a partnership with Starbeast Motorsports. Karthikeyan, who raced for the Jordan Formula One team in 2005, tested an ARCA car at Daytona in December. He is currently racing in the A1 Grand Prix and the Le Mans Series.
“The opportunity to compete in a NASCAR series is a dream come true for me,” Karthikeyan said in a release from the team. “I have raced all over the world, but this is a different kind of challenge for me and I look forward to learning everything I can about racing in this environment.
“NASCAR is known for its passionate fans. I am excited to be introducing India to this sport and hope to help develop an equally passionate fan base there.”
Karthikeyan finished 15th in his first Formula One race in 2005 and had a best finish of 11th (aside from the U.S. Grand Prix, which had just three teams in the race due to tire problems). He was a test driver in 2006 for the Williams F1 team.
Newly formed Starbeast Motorsports, owned by Miguel Abaroa, is hoping to use foreign drivers to give NASCAR more international exposure, especially in India.
“After his success in Formula 1, Narain has become one of India's most popular athletes and the obvious choice to introduce NASCAR to the subcontinent,” Abaroa said. “His story is that of a motorsports pioneer, and this next chapter will be his most compelling.”
Karthikeyan will drive the Wyler truck in select events in 2010 with SafeAuto as the primary sponsor.
“We have always had a desire to work with drivers to help with their transition into NASCAR,” said Stacy Compton, who has driven in 27 events for Wyler Racing since partnering with the team last year.
Compton will serve as a driver coach to help assist Karthikeyan as he makes the transition. Scenedaily.com