Kimi Raikkonen’s NASCAR debut ends in the tire barrier
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen had his NASCAR Cup race end at about the halfway point Sunday after contact sent him into the tire barrier at Watkins Glen International.
Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One champion, qualified 27th and ran in the top 10 with the help of strategy before the incident.
Austin Dillon spun on course and the field bunched up. There was contact and Raikkonen was shoved into the tire barrier. Raikkonen ran 44 of the 90 laps. He finished 37th.
“I had a good line there ... unfortunately I had no time to react,” Raikkonen told NBC Sports’ Parker Kligerman. “The first impact, somebody hit the tire or the wheels directly and the wheels spun
Kligerman asked Raikkonen if he enjoyed his experience.
“It was good fun,” Raikkonen said. “I felt more confidence all the time and had some good battles. The car felt like it had a lot of speed in there, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
Raikkonen said on Saturday that he had no plans to do any other Cup races. He was running the first race for Trackhouse Racing’s Project 91 effort, which is intended to provide rides for international drivers in select Cup races.
Raikkonen, who is from Finland, led an international contingent. A total of seven countries, including the U.S., were represented by the 39-driver field.