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Monday, June 24, 2024

Raikkonen “excited” to return to NASCAR Cup racing at COTA

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This will likely be Raikkonen’s first begin at COTA since ending 13th for Alfa Romeo within the 2021 United States Grand Prix. It was additionally the scene of the 2007 world champion’s remaining F1 win for Ferrari in 2018.

He’ll race the No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro fielded by Trackhouse Racing’s part-time crew led by 23-race profitable crew chief Darian Grubb, who gained a Cup Collection title with Tony Stewart in 2011.

“Clearly, it’s useful that I do know the monitor,” stated Raikkonen. “Now, the F1 automobile and a NASCAR Cup automobile are barely completely different in how they really feel if you go round it.

“I would like to recollect there’s loads much less downforce after I go across the first time popping out of the pits.”

Raikkonen will make his second Cup begin for Trackhouse Racing’s Project91 program, following his debut at Watkins Glen final 12 months. He ran in eighth place briefly throughout a pitstop cycle in a weather-affected race, earlier than later crashing out and injuring his wrist.

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“Final 12 months was an amazing expertise,” stated Raikkonen. “Sadly, the outcome wasn’t what we have been searching for as a result of we acquired caught up in a wreck, however that’s a part of racing.

“I’m excited to have one other go, and hopefully we are going to keep out of any large points. This will likely be tough for certain, however the additional we go within the weekend the better it will get.

“At the very least I’ve an concept of how we will method the weekend. I believe we did job final 12 months. Is the automobile going to offer us a greater outcome? I don’t know, I hope so.”

Kimi Raikkonen, TrackHouse Racing, Recogni Chevrolet Camaro, Ty Dillon, Petty GMS Motorsports, Allegiant Chevrolet Camaro

Photograph by: Jasen Vinlove / NKP / Motorsport Images

Workforce boss Justin Marks added: “We had an amazing occasion final 12 months and left Watkins Glen wanting just a little bit extra, so I’m glad we might put this weekend collectively.

“Kimi is a world class expertise and it’s been a pleasure to have him be part of our group. He’s been every little thing we might hope for, and I believe we have now confirmed him how aggressive, skilled and enjoyable NASCAR racing actually is as of late.”

Trackhouse’s Ross Chastain scored his maiden Cup profession victory at COTA final 12 months, when he handed two automobiles within the remaining corners, whereas team-mate Daniel Suarez dominated the early going earlier than an influence steering failure ended his victory bid.

“Kimi was a whole lot of enjoyable final 12 months when he raced with us in Watkins Glen,” stated Suarez. “You may actually see his expertise. He picked up NASCAR racing so shortly.

“It is going to be fascinating to see how he does this 12 months on a monitor the place he has gained in Components 1. I believe he will likely be very fast.”

Raikkonen will likely be joined on the grid by Button, who’s driving a Ford Mustang for Rick Ware Racing.

They are going to have just a little little bit of added time to get acclimated, because the Cup Collection options an additional observe session for 50 minutes this Friday, earlier than qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.

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