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Former F1 champ Kimi Raikkonen coming to NASCAR truck series

April 4, 2011 | 10:54 am


The Iceman cometh, to NASCAR that is.

Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One champion known as "the Iceman" for his laconic demeanor, signed to drive a limited number of races this year in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series.

The Finn will race for a team owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, and it should make for an interesting pairing, given that Busch is one of stock-car racing's most outspoken competitors whose own nicknames include "Rowdy" and "Wild Thing."

Busch's team said Saturday that Raikkonen would debut in the truck race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., on May 20. The rest of his truck schedule will be released at a later date, the team said.

"We are honored" to have Raikkonen, 31, join the team, Busch said in a statement. "I look forward to assisting in Kimi's transition to NASCAR as both an owner and teammate."

Raikkonen said in the same release that he was "really excited to have the opportunity to start my venture into NASCAR with Kyle Busch Motorsports."

Raikkonen spent nine years in Formula One, winning 18 times, then left after the 2009 season and more recently has raced in the World Rally [Car] Championship.

He joins other former Formula One drivers who have migrated to NASCAR, including Cup driver Juan Pablo Montoya and Nelson Piquet Jr., who's also currently driving in the truck series.

Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon was among those eager to see how Raikkonen fares.

"I’m a big Formula One fan and I admire Kimi," Gordon told reporters Saturday in Martinsville, Va. "I can’t wait for him to come in here [media center] and do an interview because the one-word answers that you guys are going to get out of those questions is going to be hilarious to watch."


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--Jim Peltz

Photo: Drivers take green flag in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Saturday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Credit: Mark Dolejs / US Presswire