Kimi Raikkonen focused on "fun" in his NASCAR Cup debut – Motorsport.com

So far, it appears mission accomplished.
Raikkonen navigated through his first Cup Series practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International without any on-track incidents.
While he was not in contention to win the pole, Raikkonen showed solid race pace and his biggest complaint was he would have liked more track time.
“I wish there had been more laps. It just felt like there is a lot of potential,” he said. “But you know, I’m not sure which line to take and just not enough laps to put everything together. But yeah, it was fun.
“Quite a lot of what I sort of expected after the simulator. Obviously, there’s always a difference but the fine data is never shown in the simulator. At least I knew the track, but I think, yeah, I needed to be a bit more better in a few places.
“Some places I thought I was pretty okay. But you know, it’s good. I didn’t expect anything and we are somewhat in the middle, so it’s okay.”
Kimi Raikkonen
Photo by: Project91
The race at The Glen marks Raikkonen’s first outing in a motorsport event since he retired from F1 last December with his final appearance for Alfa Romeo at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Finn’s appearance in a Cup Series race is part of Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 initiative which is looking to expand NASCAR’s reach by introducing talented international racing drivers to the series.
To prepare for this weekend’s race, Raikkonen, 42, brought his entire family to the United States for several weeks to immerse himself in the experience.
During that time, he’s done simulator work, driven in iRacing events, participated in pit stop practice at the shop and recently took part in his “Select Driver Orientation Test” at Virginia International Raceway.
Asked why he would risk potential “failure” in moving to a different form of motorsports, Raikkonen dismissed the suggestion.
“I don’t see any risk. Why not?” he said. “What do I have to lose? That I‘ve done bad in a NASCAR race or bad in any race? I don’t care. I do it for myself. Good or bad result, it could happen even if I did 20 races. They all could be bad for many different reasons.
“I don’t see anything negative. I think it’s great. I’m sure there’s a lot of drivers that would like to have a chance and try, but it’s not very easy.
“So, maybe it opens some doors that in future there’s more chance to try to get more Europeans.”
Once practice and qualifying were over on Saturday, Raikkonen said his remaining focus in preparing for Sunday’s race was to become familiar with NASCAR rules.
“You know, not making any silly mistakes on that side, hopefully, and we’ll see what we can do with the car,” he said. “We had a little bit of an idea from where we started and where we went and maybe somewhere halfway is better, and you know, we try to improve.
“I want to have fun, but also do as well as we can.”
Chase Elliott takes Watkins Glen Cup pole, Raikkonen 27th
Kyle Busch on his future: “There’s a big change coming”
Kyle Busch on his future: “There’s a big change coming”
Leaders spin and Kyle Larson wins Xfinity race at The Glen
How NASCAR is gearing up for its “biggest change” in 2022
Kyle Busch on his future: “There’s a big change coming”
Regardless of how Kyle Busch’s contract situation resolves itself, the two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion said his future will take a different look.
Kimi Raikkonen focused on “fun” in his NASCAR Cup debut
Former F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen said he has nothing to lose making his first NASCAR Cup Series start and was hoping to have fun.
Chase Elliott takes Watkins Glen Cup pole, Raikkonen 27th
Chase Elliott appears set to challenge for yet another win at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Sunday.
Larson, Hendrick teammates top Cup practice at Watkins Glen
Hendrick Motorsports drivers dominated the lone practice session for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International.
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team
Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn’t manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR’s Next Gen car
NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time
How Penske’s rookie sensation opened NASCAR’s new era in style
After holding his nerve and hip-checking his teammate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here’s how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season
There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend’s Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival
The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major engine overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars.
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory
From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines…
How NASCAR is gearing up for its “biggest change” in 2022
It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR’s core philosophy
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR
Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like