HandyNZL

Not Another Damn Kimi Thread

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In his NASCAR debut, the 2007 Formula One world champion still managed to finish 15th — despite starting 31st.

How did the Finn feel about what many might consider a fabulous start? Naturally, Raikkonen was nonchalant.

"I mean you'd rather be more higher up," he said with a shrug and a wry smile after taking a sip from his Red Bull water bottle. "I think how it felt this morning and how it qualified, I'm pretty pleased how it was in the race. For sure, there is still a lot to learn."

A whirlwind introduction to the Camping World Truck Series that began with Raikkonen asking where the reverse gear was in his No. 15 Tundra concluded nicely Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Raikkonen ran as high as sixth after early in the race (gaining more than a dozen positions when he missed a cue to pit during a second caution).

On a night when NASCAR champions Todd Bodine, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Kyle Busch (the race winner and owner of Raikkonen's truck) spun, Raikkonen stayed out of trouble until heavy contact with the outside wall late in the race. Though he didn't pass many trucks, he also didn't yield positions easily.

"His first hit on NASCAR was probably pleasant compared to what it could be," said Rick Ren, Raikkonen's crew chief. "The race went well. He talked a lot during the race, which is unusual. He's known as not talkative. He's not used to having a spotter. He does everything you ask him to do. I can't believe he's not pleased with his first race. I'm pleased for him, because I know how difficult it is here.

"What impressed me more than anything is restarts. He didn't spin the tires. I was like, 'Wow, this guy is good.' "

Raikkonen did concede he was more happy after the race than following two tough practices that morning. Ren admittedly set the truck up tighter than usual (which is standard for rookie drivers unaccustomed to saving a loose vehicle), but neither of Kyle Busch Motorsports' Toyotas were handling well, and Busch said the truck was the source of Raikkonen's struggles.

Besides an ill-handling vehicle, Raikkonen also went through a crash course in NASCAR with Ren, who tried to explain what the flags meant, how to pit and the procedures after a wreck.

"We went through as many scenarios as we could, but there's always something that you can't think of everything," Ren said.

In this case, it was the "free pass rule", which confused Raikkonen on a restart (an explanation that a driver was whizzing by because he was the "Lucky Dog" was met with silence), and if fuel loads affected handling late in the race.

Ren said Raikkonen still handled all of it with aplomb.

"I think he grasped it very well," he said. "It all worked out fine. I just think today went well."

It got easier once Raikkonen was comfortable in traffic.

"You learn from restarts and where you should go and stuff like that," he said. "It was more fun than I expected, the racing."

So what's next? Raikkonen was coy, but Busch said after the race there is a Nationwide Camry at his shop (though not owned by KBM). It's expected Raikkonen will attempt his Nationwide debut at Charlotte next week.

If he does, he likely will be greeted just as warmly as he was Friday. Five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson gushed about what Raikkonen's presence meant to the sport. Juan Pablo Montoya, who had feuded with Raikkonen at McLaren, sought out his ex-F1 teammate in the morning to offer advice and then went to the starting grid to offer good luck wishes before the race.

The prerace receiving line also included F1 veteran (and fellow truck racer) Nelson Piquet Jr. and ex-McLaren exec Steve Hallam (now at Michael Waltrip Racing).

"If he wants to be here, I think I can help a lot and give some pointers," said Montoya, who added he wanted to greet Raikkonen just as Kevin Harvick had bent over backward to help the Colombian at a 2006 test in Homestead. "I want him to know it's different over here."

Raikkonen said the collegial atmosphere reminded him of the World Rally Championship, in which he'd raced since leaving F1 in 2009.

"Everyone has been very nice and welcoming," he said. "So it was nice to feel very relaxed. It's been good.

"(Montoya) was nice to see. I haven't seen him in for a long time."

Will he see more of him in the future? Raikkonen certainly seemed to be hinting so, indicating he wanted to run the Sprint Cup Series— this year.

"What brings me here? I think it's many, many different reasons for that," he said. "Since I stopped in Formula 1, my interests have always been in many different motor sports. I want to try different things and this wasn't the first time that I have been offered to come here. I had a good time to come and see how it is and learn and try to get better in it. That's really the only reason that I came. I was interested to see how it is and how it feels and how it is racing in NASCAR."

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Good on the monotone-gnome. He didn't wreck it, and 15th is not a bad start to his first time out there.

If he gets better at it, maybe one day he could give Formula One a try. He might do OK there.

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Good on the monotone-gnome. He didn't wreck it, and 15th is not a bad start to his first time out there.

If he gets better at it, maybe one day he could give Formula One a try. He might do OK there.

ok, so he was 30th in practise and is 15th on the starting grid. not too bad...

Edited by BradSpeedMan

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If he does, he likely will be greeted just as warmly as he was Friday. Five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson gushed about what Raikkonen's presence meant to the sport. Juan Pablo Montoya, who had feuded with Raikkonen at McLaren, sought out his ex-F1 teammate in the morning to offer advice and then went to the starting grid to offer good luck wishes before the race.

The prerace receiving line also included F1 veteran (and fellow truck racer) Nelson Piquet Jr. and ex-McLaren exec Steve Hallam (now at Michael Waltrip Racing).

"If he wants to be here, I think I can help a lot and give some pointers," said Montoya, who added he wanted to greet Raikkonen just as Kevin Harvick had bent over backward to help the Colombian at a 2006 test in Homestead. "I want him to know it's different over here."

Nice gesture by Montoya, I suddenly like the guy lol

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No Brad.....he started 31st and finished 15th. That was the race, mate. Sorry if the lack of right handers confused you there.

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P15 in that truck in that series in that field is not as impressive as it looks, but at least he didn't wreck it. To be quite honest, he didn't actually beat anyone. Everyone running at the finish behind him, except for Piquet who ran into trouble on the last lap while running in the top ten, was either terribly under-qualified to be in the series, in terrible equipment, or a combination of both. Not hating on him, and trust me, I expected him to do worse, but I didn't see anything about his run tonight that was worth talking about.

He's running the Nationwide race next weekend, Saturday night, at this same track. I don't like to see that, personally. He's moving up the ranks too quickly. He'd be best served running more Trucks and running more races in series below Truck (i.e. K&N Pro, ARCA, whatever). Going to Nationwide now seems a bit silly.

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You're such a hater Eric.

You need some McLovin' bro...

He kept it on the island...finished the race...and that's what you have to do first and foremost. He's doing it for fun because he likes driving cars fast. I couldn't care less if he ran in Sprint and came 43rd...

He's ticking stuff off on the bucket list. I have a feeling he'll go and do a race in V8 Supercars next, maybe even Bathurst as a co-driver - and in that he'd be sublime.

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Maybe I am a hater. :P

To me, it's arrogant to walk right in and expect to rapidly climb the ladder on the basis you're an F1 driver, and it's stupid to think it'll work when it really hasn't in the modern era.

The ladder system in NASCAR is totally FUBAR at this point. There is no shortage of young talent in NASCAR, many of them signed to teams already, but they never run in Nationwide. Sponsors want to run the Cup guys, so they do. The rest of the field goes to ride-buyers and "safe" drivers who are either ex-Cup mid-packers or Nationwide-lifers. The amount of young talent with potential to go to Cup? There's maybe one or two drivers currently with half a chance. Look at the Rookie of the Year battle in Cup; there was only one driver last year and he's arguably among the worst drivers I've ever seen race, and there are zero drivers running full-time this year. There is no way to get to Cup anymore, and the sport is lucky these guys have long shelf-lives. There will come a day when Bobby Labonte, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, David Reutimann, Jeff Burton, and a few others all hit retirement age within a couple years of each other, and it'll be pathetic to see the options they have to replace these guys. Most of them will have to race until their 70...

So for a ride to be created just so one guy who is suddenly a hero because he didn't wreck (he did hit the wall, but not hard) in the one race he's run kind of irritates me. They can run whoever they want, NASCAR approved him, so it is what it is, but it's just one more guy who thinks he's invincible because he came from the Good Lord's Superior and Fast Open-Wheel Cars. He's going to find out he's not, tearing up equipment that so many short-trackers (whether it be midgets, sprints, or stock cars) could take to a top ten or better. He can like driving fast all he wants and good for him for having a ride. It doesn't excite me to see him rushing through the ranks and already talking about running Cup races.

I respected Kimi for trying, and I respected him for picking Trucks, but now I'm losing that quickly knowing it bothers him to be in a third-tier series, so rather than earn his way up, he just ups his ride-buying payments.

If he gets one of the Red Bull Cup cars next year, I'll puke.

Same if Red Bull-backed Cole Whitt gets one. Whitt is, beyond all doubt, the best young driver in the sport right now and could win the Truck title as a rookie. He needs more experience before Cup, though, and I hate young drivers getting rushed up through the ranks as much as I hate to see these open-wheel guys do it. It's a great way to kill a career. Sometimes, though, I can sympathize with the young guys like Logano in that they're contracted to these teams with really restrictive deals, and if the team owner wants you in Cup, it's hard to say "you're wrong." When it's someone like this just declaring himself ready to move up and buying his way, that bothers me, whether it's Kimi or Kevin Conway or whomever. I think that's one area I really can respect Danica in; it's likely she'll run the full Nationwide next year even though she has Cup offers. She has self-awareness and talking to Tony Stewart must have helped; how soon we forget Stewart's first stock car runs while he was also running IndyCar...lots of crashes, a DNQ, and a lot of "meh" results with some good ones mixed in. His third year in Nationwide he ran more races than ever and started getting the results.

Edited by lewisthegreat2

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I don't think he's running Nationwide just because he's bought himself the seat and thinks he's all that and should have it by right. It's more, he wants to get the experience, and with no rally till later next month, he's out there having some track time...and the bonus is that it is at the same track. So he's learning the track as much as anything.

It's like Kubica doing rally between tests...ok...it didn't work out so good for him, but the analogy holds true. Kimi is just racing. I don't think he's looking at NASCAR as a future career move, not in the slightest. I think you just need to sit back and watch and one day tell the grand kids that in your time, there were these internal combustion engine contraptions that used to race in circles and there was this Finn called Kimi who came to play for a weekend.

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I don't think he's running Nationwide just because he's bought himself the seat and thinks he's all that and should have it by right. It's more, he wants to get the experience, and with no rally till later next month, he's out there having some track time...and the bonus is that it is at the same track. So he's learning the track as much as anything.

It's like Kubica doing rally between tests...ok...it didn't work out so good for him, but the analogy holds true. Kimi is just racing. I don't think he's looking at NASCAR as a future career move, not in the slightest. I think you just need to sit back and watch and one day tell the grand kids that in your time, there were these internal combustion engine contraptions that used to race in circles and there was this Finn called Kimi who came to play for a weekend.

But Kubica knew his limit and what rallies to enter. Kimi's disrespecting a lot of people in the sport by buying a Nationwide ride and shopping around for Cup rides later this year. It's like an accountant deciding he's going to be a computer technician for weekend fun. Nationwide isn't a bunch of guys with a cool hobby. If he wants that, there are thousands of tracks across the country where he can buy a Late Model and go out with a bunch of other guys for a good time.

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Where's the fun in that...let him be measured against those in the other cars. If he sucks at it, then I highly doubt he'd pursue a cup seat. How do you know how good you are at anything if you don't measure yourself against the best? Kimi is not just some kid out of high school. He has motor racing credentials, and if the sanctioning body says yes, then who are we to be hating?

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He was measured last night. He wasn't good enough to move up. He has approval to run, yeah, and he has the money to buy the seat, but I don't like what he's doing. Not saying he shouldn't do it or should be stopped. Just think it's arrogant. Motor racing credentials are nice, but F1 and NASCAR credentials mean nothing to the other. I don't see Tim Thomas playing goal for an association football club in the summers. May not be any fun in not doing it, but this isn't some fun little sideshow. It's a legitimate, self-standing sport with real drivers with real careers. He's treating it like it's nothing.

I hope they eat his lunch out there next weekend. :P

Edited by lewisthegreat2

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And what if he does well...what will you eat?

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Some words from some US racers off another forum I visit:

Kimi did clank it off of the wall yesterday more than a few times, but his car control in a 175mph truck that he had never driven before was astonishing. The sideways "catches" were gorgeous, and reminded me of watching Jeff Gordon as a faux-mustachioed kid at Winchester in a USAC sprint car. Just a thing of beauty. Was really fun to watch him get a handle on that thing during the race.

I'd love to see Kimi run a short track, or an odd track like Phoenix or Pocono. I hope he does it again, that was really entertaining in the best of the major NASCAR series out there.

On SPEEDTV.com there's a clip of him in practice. They had some kind of problem with the truck - very loose the switching to push. There was one lap where he got the truck sideways enough to hear the tires squeal three times in the same corner and he just kept catching it. Pretty damn impressive.
Considering he turned lap 1 in practice today at 9:30 CDT for the very first time in a CW truck on a 1.5 mile track with other trucks out there, then qualified 31 out of 37. Finished 15th in what had to have been a very long day and a very long race for Kimi. I have to admit, I was rooting for him to do well.

Nicely done, that couldn't have been an easy day.

And no, they are not quotes from just joe-blows...they are quotes from guys that have been racing and engineering since the '70's. Guys I respect enough to ask about set ups etc on our FFords and FJunior.

So three out of four American's think he did OK :P

(You being the fourth, hater...hater hater hater :P)

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:lol: I can respect that.

He didn't do poorly. He just didn't do well enough to be thinking about Nationwide or Cup. You can't do this as a hobby. You're either all in or you're not in at all. It's on the same level as F1. That's my problem with this; it's not that I think he'll never get it together and had the worst debut possible.

Besides, I used to race go-karts. I know everything. :P

(Actually, the only thing I learned from racing was that I never want to race again). :lol:

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Some words from some US racers off another forum I visit:

"Kimi did clank it off of the wall yesterday more than a few times, but his car control in a 175mph truck that he had never driven before was astonishing. The sideways "catches" were gorgeous, and reminded me of watching Jeff Gordon as a faux-mustachioed kid at Winchester in a USAC sprint car. Just a thing of beauty. Was really fun to watch him get a handle on that thing during the race. I'd love to see Kimi run a short track, or an odd track like Phoenix or Pocono. I hope he does it again, that was really entertaining in the best of the major NASCAR series out there."

Loved reading that, and now I really miss Kimi. :(

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i was awake last night and watching Nascar just becuse of Kimi, till 5.00 in the morning, and i am not even a Kimi fan, but i respect him very much. don't get me wrong, but Nascar camping trucks are very boring.

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Räikkönen will race Saturday night in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race (the Top Gear 300 at Charlotte). He will be in the #87 Perky Jerky Toyota Camry for Joe Nemechek. 46 cars are entered for 43 spots, but Kimi is locked in by owner points and will therefore start the race no matter what.

More interestingly, Tim Andrews is entered to drive both the 46 and the 79 cars in this race. Bet Kimi couldn't drive two at once like that. ;)

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Räikkönen tested Robby Gordon's Sprint Cup car on the VIR road course. He crashed on his sixth lap. In over his head with the big cars, and it wasn't even an oval. If he wants to play with stock cars, well, Sprint Cup isn't exactly a daycare.

And then there's this:

"And it's up to Kimi whether he stays tomorrow, heads back to Finland or stays to run the Nationwide race Saturday at Charlotte," he said. Raikkonen has reportedly committed to running Saturday's Nationwide event, but Hirschfeld says otherwise.

"I've seen the story where he's committed to run the Nationwide race at Charlotte, but he has not told me personally whether he'll do it or not," Hirschfeld said. "There's a car and team ready to go, but Kimi himself has not yet committed.

"He's taking this whole experience day by day," Hirschfeld said. "I was told before I started working with him, but this is the truth -- Kimi does what Kimi wants to do."

http://sports.espn.g...tory?id=6583656

I know the Kimi fans will get a kick out of that, "Kimi being Kimi," but it's not going to cut it in NASCAR. You want a guaranteed way to get the NASCAR fanbase against you? "Kimi does what Kimi wants to do" is a great start; disrespecting the sport the way Kimi has is another. He may as well seal the deal by running away from NEMCO after they committed to enter a second car for him and paid to enter it in the race. What an attitude to think he can just randomly make loose deals to do random NASCAR races and come and go as he pleases. It just shows no respect for NASCAR. Why is he even here?

And it's sad, in a way, because I respected Kimi for wanting to try stock cars, until he changed his plans and decided he was qualified to do the top tier levels. It's sad, too, that this will only reinforce the stereotypes about F1 drivers (spoiled little girls with big egos etc). to NASCAR fans; a lot of us know better or understand the cultural differences of NASCAR and F1, but some don't, and Kimi's not doing anything to show them differently. Just more fuel there.

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He's moving up the ranks too quickly.

Isnt that what poeple said just before in was in F1?

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Isnt that what poeple said just before in was in F1?

No. People said he was moving down the ranks too quickly when he left.

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Isnt that what poeple said just before in was in F1?

There's a big difference, though, between winning a championship in a feeder series that's around two or three tiers below F1 and running a single race, P15, in a series that's two tiers below Sprint Cup. What he did in Europe would be more like winning the ARCA title and going to Sprint Cup after; it would be crazy, for sure, but not unprecedented, and not as ridiculous as diving in after one race that he wasn't that good in....if he's even diving in, because he seems to be waffling now that he's had a wake-up call in the Cup car and realized that even on a road course he's in too deep.

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