By Nancy Knapp Schilke
- 2007 F1 champion joins NASCAR team
- Kyle Busch Motorsports signs Raikkonen
- Raikkonen to continue WRC program
April Fool's Day has come and gone and now reality sets in with the announcement from Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) that indeed they have signed Kimi Raikkonen. The 2007 Formula One World Champion will start his new adventure at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.
KBM General Manager Rick Ren stated: "We are extremely excited to have Kimi Raikkonen begin his transition to NASCAR behind the wheel of Kyle Busch Motorsports' Toyota Tundra's."
The Ice Man from Finland will run a limited schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series while he continues to compete in the World Rally Championship as a privateer with his ICE 1 Racing Citroen.
"I am really excited to have the opportunity to start my venture into NASCAR with Kyle Busch Motorsports," said Raikkonen.
At the age of 31, Raikkonen has already proven his desire to race, along with his ability to try anything one four-wheels. After nine years in Formula One driving for three teams, he amassed 18 wins and 62 podiums with 16 pole positions. In World Rally, the Finn ran his first season in 2009 for the Citroen Junior team and while it was a rough go, he again competed in 2010 and earned his first stage win.
Many were surprised to note his staying in the WRC and with his own team but the Ice Man proved his determination to succeed even when going up against the top drivers and now he is ready to prove it in NASCAR.
"We are honored that Kimi Raikkonen, a former Formula 1 World Drivers' Champion and proven winner, has chosen to start his career in NASCAR with Kyle Busch Motorsports," said Busch.
Busch knows what it takes to compete in the NCTS or any NASCAR series, as both a driver and team owner, he also has seen the ups and downs in racing; albeit more ups in the past several years. Like several of the top drivers in NASCAR, he formed his own team and many times, he is the driver of the Toyota Tundra.
I look forward to being a part of a team that has proven to be a winner on and off the race track.
Busch also races for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the Nationwide series. The Las Vegas native is the only NASCAR driver to win all three of NASCAR's series on the same weekend. He came close in 2009 but in August of 2010 at the short track in Bristol, TN, Busch pulled off the record making feat by taking the wins in the Truck, Nationwide and Cup races.
"Adding one of the most talented drivers in the world is a continuation of building a team of proven winners and champions at KBM. I look forward to assisting in Kimi's transition to NASCAR as both an owner and teammate," added Busch.
Raikkonen added, "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."