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Denny Hamlin Comments on Kimi Raikkonen Helping Create a New NASCAR Record at Watkins Glen

Published 08/20/2022, 3:35 PM EDT

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This weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen is going to be an interesting one, as there will be multiple international drivers racing alongside the regular series drivers making it the highest ever in the Cup Series history.

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A total of seven different nationalities are going to be racing on Sunday alongside American drivers. The international roster includes two former Formula one drivers, Kimi Räikkönen from Finland and Daniil Kvyat from Russia. We also have Trackhouse Racing’s Mexican-born driver, Daniel Suarez.


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The other drivers are 2019 and 2021 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion Loris Hezemans hailing from the Netherlands, Spire Motorsports driver Mike Rockenfeller originally from Germany, and 2021 Asian Le Mans Series Champion Kyle Tilley, who comes from England.

Arguably, the most buzz has been around one international driver and that is Kimi Raikkonen, who won the 2007 Formula One World Champion with Ferrari. He also happens to be a highly regarded driver with a massive fan following.

But this won’t be the first time Kimi will be competing in NASCAR. Back in 2011, while he was on a break from Formula One, Raikkonen took part in the Xfinity Series and the Truck series. Now he will be making his Cup Series Debut this weekend at The Watkins Glen International Circuit.

Drivers like Denny Hamlin and Daniel Suarez comment on Kimi Raikkonen’s NASCAR Cup Series Debut

23XI Racing team co-owner Denny Hamlin and Trackhouse Racing driver Daniel Suarez were asked a few questions about Raikkonen racing with them.

Both had positive things to say about the 42-year-old Finn. Although Hamlin’s understanding may have been more on the realistic side, considering he hasn’t been driving since last year and is more used to an open-wheel format.


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via Reuters

During the media interview session, Hamlin said, “It’s a good thing for our sport to get some good publicity. But other than that, I’m not really sure that it changes the dynamic of the race too much.”

Later on, Suarez said, “He asked a lot of questions,” he said. “He was very open-minded. I really thought he was going to be more quiet. A lot of people know him as being very, very quiet and a ‘leave me alone kind of thing, but he is not like that at all.”


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Watch This Story: Bubba Wallace Reveals Biggest Concern With F1 Legend Kimi Raikkonen’s Nascar Cameo I Hope I Don’t Junk His A**

As Kimi retired from Formula 1 post the 2021 season, the NASCAR Cup Series race this weekend will be the first major racing series that he will be a part of since then. We hope you are just as excited as we are to see what unfolds at this one-of-a-kind race on Sunday.

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Written by:

Srijan Mandal


One take at a time

Srijan Mandal is a NASCAR author at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Master’s in Journalism and has been writing for his own blog, 'Noobs Onboard', for a while now, covering NASCAR, F1, W Series, MotoGP, WRC and the WEC. Following motorsports for more than a decade now, he has become a devout supporter of McLaren Racing, Sir Lewis Hamilton, and Ayrton Senna.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh