Exodus from Formula One to NASCAR likely isn't over
So, who's next? Now that former Formula One champ Kimi Raikkonen has tested with Kyle Busch's truck team and is set to compete in the truck race at Charlotte next month, who's the next driver from Formula One to follow Juan Pablo Montoya and others to NASCAR?
"People are watching,'' Montoya says when asked if those in Formula One pay attention to NASCAR.
"Over the last few years, when I came over, people started paying attention to how I ran, and I think a lot of people got hooked on it. I still receive emails from people in Formula One.''
In a way, it makes sense, as long as a driver is willing to move to the United States, or at least spend time here.
Consider: Of the 24 drivers in Formula One, 17 are under 30 years old. Sebastian Vettel, who won last year's championship, and Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion, both were 23 years old at the time. NASCAR's defending champ, Jimmie Johnson is 35 years old -- older than all but three drivers competing in Formula One.
Formula One is a young man's sport, while a driver can come to NASCAR much later. David Reutimann, who has two Cup wins, didn't make his Cup debut until he was 35 years old.
Once a driver hits his early 30s, he's likely done in F1. While there are other forms of racing in Europe, the enticement of NASCAR seems to grab more drivers.
"It would be kind of neat if Mr. Schumacher would come over here and give it a try,'' Dale Earnhardt Jr. said of Michael Schumacher, a seven-time F1 champ. "We'd all really be thrilled to see it. Whether you thought it was great or right or wrong, we'd all be watching.''
There' still time for Schumacher. He's only 42. After all, Mark Martin is 52.
Raikkonen, the 2007 F1 champ, is 31, so he could have a lot of racing left.
It's not just Montoya and now Raikkonen coming to NASCAR. Nelson Piquet Jr., who competed in F1 in 2008-09, drives in the truck series for Kevin Harvick Inc. Current Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan competed in nine truck races last year. News-Record