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Workers Experiences, USA TODAY
What occurs if you put a Components One legend in a NASCAR race on a monitor acquainted to all the racing world?
And what if we add worldwide famous person Pitbull to the combination?
We discover out this weekend when former F1 champ Kimi Raikkonen competes in opposition to North America’s prime stock-car racers at Watkins Glen in New York.
“This will likely be enjoyable, nevertheless it’s one thing I’ll take very severely,” Raikkonen mentioned. “I understand how aggressive the NASCAR Cup Sequence is and will probably be an enormous problem.”
It is going to be the primary begin for TrackHouse Racing’s new “Project91” program. TrackHouse, owned by Justin Marks and Pitbull, is fielding a No. 91 Chevrolet together with its two full-time Cup Sequence rides — the No. 1 pushed by Ross Chastain and the No. 99 wheeled by Daniel Suarez.
Raikkonen has a wee little bit of NASCAR expertise. It got here in 2011, throughout his two-year hiatus from Components One. He raced twice at Charlotte Motor Speedway, in NASCAR’s Xfinity Sequence (he completed twenty seventh) and Truck Sequence (fifteenth).
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However his worldwide fame and fortune had been constructed on the splashy circuits of F1. In 350 profession begins between 2001-21, he had 21 wins, 142 podium finishes, the 2007 world championship, and was twice championship runner-up.
Kimi Raikkonen prepped closely for Watkins Glen and NASCAR
The 42-year-old Finland native — and Swiss resident — obtained some stock-car seat time this previous week throughout a check session at Virginia Worldwide Raceway. He additionally did loads of Watkins Glen prep on the simulator earlier than heading to upstate New York for the true deal.
“Project91” is Marks’ brainchild, and he hopes to make use of it to sometimes lure a world racing star to the seat.
“The genesis of Project91 was simply my want as a race fan to see cool issues occur in racing,” Marks mentioned. “A Components One driver coming to NASCAR and being aggressive on the Cup degree is a cool factor.”
Kimi Raikkonen not solely NASCAR moonlighter at Watkins Glen
Raikkonen mentioned he wasn’t trying to return to a monitor so early into retirement, however Marks satisfied him the chance was one.
“I wasn’t trying to race once more,” Raikkonen mentioned, “however Justin got here to my dwelling in Switzerland and satisfied me how severe he was about placing collectively a top-notch program.”
Raikkonen is probably the most embellished Watkins Glen moonlighter this week, however not the one one. The entry checklist additionally features a pair of sports-car aces — Germany’s Mike Rockenfeller and England’s Kyle Tilley, together with Russian F1 driver Daniil Kvyat, and NASCAR Euro Sequence champ Loris Hezemans of the Netherlands.
Additionally entered as a “road-course ringer” is American sports-car racer Joey Hand, who’ll be in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 15 Ford. Amongst many different North America road-racing victories, Hand was a part of Chip Ganassi’s general winner on the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
This weekend, Watkins Glen Qualifying is Saturday and the race is Sunday, with TV protection starting at 3 p.m. on the USA Community.