If Lewis Hamilton gets his own for just swapping cars for a few minutes with T-Stew, well then surely this is worthy of it's own thread.
The article from Tarun Sannomat, with some commentary from me in bold
Raikkonen goes NASCAR
Turun Sanomat 29.3 2011 15:07:20
The world champion of Formula One and current rally star Kimi Raikkonen expands his field of experiences: The 31-year-old Finn is going to race in the most popular North American race series NASCAR
The spectacular NASCAR debut for Raikkonen will be already before the becoming summer. Kimi is going to carry on with WRC Rally, too. He has agreed to do eight more rallies this year.
With the world famous newcomer driver there will be also a brand new team to race in NASCAR level: ICE1 Racing. Raikkonen joins forces with Foster Gillett. He will be the major partner of the Finnish team.
Foster's family was the former majority owners of the Montreal Canadiens NHL franchise and the former co-owners of Liverpool football club.
Last year Foster Gillett was operating with Richard Petty Motorsport in NASCAR. Now he is about to break new ground with Raikkonen and ICE1 Racing.
First off, this Gillett guy, I think he has a pretty bad reputation now in NASCAR. He's been involved in a big controversy as far as his relationship with Richard Petty, perhaps the most famous Ex-NASCAR (and by far the most successful ever), as far as not meeting financial obligations and having to declare bankruptcy. I forget the details but this is the LAST guy a newcomer to NASCAR should associate with, IMO.
– I’m really looking forward to get there to familiarize to the world of NASCAR. I have been following it for a long time. I know, it’s a very tough and open top racing series. I just love the American spirit of racing. It feels just great to get involved with that. Obviously, it will be very challenging and great fun for me, Raikkonen assures to Turun Sanomat.
As every rookie Raikkonen will start his NASCAR career with a race in World Camping Truck series. After that Kimi is going to Nationwide and will be adding the Sprint Cup series as well upon successful completion of the NASCAR approval process.
Actually most rookies start in the ARCA series which is one step below Trucks, but still cars. Essentially cast away Sprint Cup cars from several years ago. That's how you get your superspeedway license, for example (you need a separate endorsement to race on the restrictor plate tracks, and the way to do it is to race in ARCA on the "normal" tracks, then in ARCA on a super speedway), then in a truck or N'wide on a superspeedway, then in Cup on the superspeedway. The last two can be done on the same weekend)
Most of the drivers are competing in all three main series.
Not quite true. Many, if not most, have at some point done at least one race in each. But always there is a focus on one and one does maybe none to a few races in another series. There are some exceptions like Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, and Brad Keselowski who pursue the lower series with as much passion and energy as their full season in the top level will allow, but most rarely, if at all, do anything outside their primary series. Also, starting this season each driver must declare which series will be his main focus and is not allowed to earn points in the other ones.
The negotations for the car for ICE1 Racing team are just about to be finished. Raikkonen will race both in ovals and normal track circuits.
Just have to LOL at calling road courses "normal." Of course, from the NASCAR POV they are the exception to the rule. I personally always wish for more circuit racing in NASCAR. But there's a chance we'll see Kimi at Montreal again as the Nationwide series run there now!
NASCAR has hit the top of popularity almost without Formula One champions. The latest F1 champion involved with NASCAR was Jacques Villeneuve a couple of years ago. The local hero Mario Andretti had his spell in NASCAR, too.
With Raikkonen going to NASCAR there will be exciting meeting of two previous McLaren team mates. Juan Pablo Montoya was a thundering pair of Raikkonen in 2005 and 2006. Now the Columbian is one the few F1 stars who have made it to top of this highly challenging class of motor sports.
I have to wonder what Montoya's attitude toward Kimi will be if this comes true. I'm pretty sure he hated Kimi at the end of their time together, but time mellows him. I know he's very helpful toward Danica.
I'm most interested in, and suspicious of, this Gilett connection.