Kimi Raikkonen to test truck on Monday UPDATE
“He’s got the talent to race,” team owner Kyle Busch said Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. “He’s Formula One, he’s obviously a world champion over there, and he’s done real well in the rally stuff, so I can’t see why he wouldn’t be successful in our equipment.
|Raikkonen may try to race one of Kyle Busch's truck in Charlotte in May|
“I think [his rally experience] will help him because he’s gone from something that’s the ultimate amount of downforce and grip to something that is essentially no downforce, no grip and you’re in the air sometimes. I think that will be something that he’s had the best of both worlds. NASCAR is the best of both words. We do have a lot of downforce but yet sometimes we are slipping and sliding all over the place.”
“I have yet to speak to Kimi myself, but apparently there’s an interest with him that he wants to run in NASCAR and he’s been shopping around to quite a few teams, and apparently we won the war,” Busch said.
“It’s exciting for us at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Kimi, from what I understand, was real adamant with wanting to work with me and our teams and put together a deal. I don’t know where the money is coming from. My contract is with Kimi himself.”
For the race at Charlotte, Raikkonen will drive a second team truck but have the No. 18 truck crew and crew chief Eric Phillips working with him. Busch will drive the No. 18 truck but have competition director Rick Ren as crew chief and will have to assemble a crew for himself.
The only test scheduled for Raikkonen is Monday at Gresham Motorsports Park in Georgia.
“With the guy being as talented and as good as he’s been in the realms of motorsport that he’s competed in, certainly I would like to expect he runs well here in NASCAR as well,” Busch said. “Maybe this can lead to a longer relationship - more than just a few races.”
Raikkonen spent nine years in F1, with one season at Sauber, five at McLaren and then three at Ferrari. He has 18 career F1 victories in addition to the ’07 title.
“I am really excited to have the opportunity to start my venture into NASCAR with Kyle Busch Motorsports,” Raikkonen said in a statement. “Kyle is one of the best in NASCAR, and being able to draw on his knowledge will be a valuable asset as I make my transition to a new form of racing.
“He has put together an experienced team that builds fast race trucks. I look forward to being a part of a team that has proven to be a winner on and off the race track.”04/01/11 Former Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen will test a truck fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports on Monday on the half-mile oval at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga., Autosport.com reported and team sources confirmed Friday.
Raikkonen has been approved by NASCAR to compete in the May 20 North Carolina Education Lottery 200 Camping World Truck Series race at 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch was circumspect when asked about Raikkonen during his media availability Friday at Martinsville Speedway.
“I think that some of these guys from the Formula One, or from the open wheel background I should say, trying to take a step in NASCAR and see how it is is pretty neat,” Busch said. “It kind of gives a world presence to NASCAR. Everybody thinks that Formula One is the world series — I don't mean that in baseball terms I just mean that in the racing world globe.
“I think that NASCAR, as big as it is, a lot of drivers want to see how they can do over here and how they can have a feel for the racecar over here. I think it's neat, and I hope that he (Kimi) gets the things worked out that he wants worked out and that he can come over here and run some trucks or run whatever he is going to run.” SI.com