Raikkonen Signs with Kyle Busch Motorsports
Many NASCAR, Rally and Formula 1 fans were speculating on the future of Kimi Raikkonen, as there were rumors that he might be moving over to NASCAR like his former McLaren team mate, Juan Pablo Montoya. But up until Saturday it was merely stories. On Saturday the formal announcement was made that Kimi Raikkonen had signed with Kyle Busch Motorsports, and confirmed that Raikkonen was leaving rally driving behind to enter the world of NASCAR. It is hoped that Kyle Busch’s NASCAR experience and Raikkonen’s driving talent will be a winning combination for the motorsport team.
Kimi Raikkonen, a Finnish driver nicknamed Iceman, entered the Formula 1 circuit in 2001, and spent nine years in this racing industry, driving for Ferrari, Sauber and McLaren. At the end of 2009, it was announced that Raikkonen would not continue driving for Ferrari in the 2010 season and negotiations with other teams failed. Raikkonen then made the transfer to rally driving in 2010, participating in the World Rally Championship for the Junior Citroën Team. He established his own team, Ice 1 Racing for the 2011 season, and has now officially been contracted by Kyle Busch Motorsports for NASCAR.
He will be making his debut for the team at the Charlotte Motor Speedway where the Trucks Series will be hosted, and will be driving a KMB Toyota Tundra. Raikkonen expressed his excitement in regard to his new venture saying, “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.”
Jeff Gordon, who has won the NASCAR championship four times, seems excited that yet another Formula 1 driver has made the leap to NASCAR, commenting, “I can’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it when Juan Pablo made that announcement. So many things going through my mind. I think it says a lot about NASCAR that somebody like him is considering coming here. I admire him for wanting to take the step and go Truck racing and not just jump in a Cup car.”