Going Back on Bold Stance From Younger F1 Days, Kimi Raikkonen Makes His NASCAR Debut in 2022

Published 08/16/2022, 6:25 AM EDT

Formula 1 and NASCAR are two of the most important, popular, and prestigious forms of motorsports. Even though they both are four-wheeled sports, there are differences in the technicalities of the car. However, a talented driver can have a go at both F1 and NASCAR.

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One such driver is Kimi Raikkonen, as he is now ready for a new potential life in NASCAR post his F1 days. However, his idea to jump ship came a decade back when he was up for a switch. The potential move was up in the air when the Finn ended his contract with Ferrari back in 2009. A big rallying fan, Raikkonen kept his move to other sports apart from F1 “wide open.

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As reported by Motor1.com, the Finland international hinted at a potential switch to America’s most popular form of Motorsports. However, the former Ferrari driver played down his NASCAR link at Interlagos during the Brazilian Grand Prix. Later on, Raikkonen indeed made his debut in the NASCAR Truck series at Charlotte Speedway.

MONZA, ITALY – AUGUST 30: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari walk in the Paddock during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on August 30, 2018 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Talking about his potential switch, the former Rally driver stated, “I could race there if I wanted, but I’m not one of the biggest fans of NASCAR. But the teams all know that in theory, I am available to race.”

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Kimi Raikkonen and NASCAR

Kimi Raikkonen, however, did not opt for NASCAR after his contract ran out with Ferrari. The ‘Iceman’ then left the sport as he didn’t join any other team in F1.

Even though Raikkonen tried his hand at NASCAR Camping World Truck Series as well as Xfinity Series in 2011, he eventually chose to be a part of Rally racing for the next three years.

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Kimi’s manager, Steve Robertson, on his decision to leave F1, said, “The choices in Formula One for the next season were McLaren or nothing. Kimi and McLaren could not reach an agreement so he will not drive on Formula One level for at least next season.”

Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 27, 2021 Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen during practice REUTERS/Johanna Geron

Interestingly, the 42-year-old driver returned to F1 in 2012. A multi-year contract with Lotus saw the Finland international make a comeback to the sport. Kimi Raikkonen retired from F1 in 2021.

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Post his retirement from F1, NASCAR’s Trackhouse Racing team announced that the F1 veteran will race for them in the Cup Series race. Kimi Raikkonen is set to take #91 can and make his Cup debut at the 2022 Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International.

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Sabyasachi Biswas

754 articles

Sabyasachi Biswas is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. He has completed his Master's in Mass Communication and Journalism from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Sabyasachi is an ardent Red Bull and Max Verstappen fan and has been following the sport for over a decade now.

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