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A brief history of F1 drivers in Trucks

19 May 2011

Kimi Raikkonen's not the first former F1 driver or even former world champion to try his hand at the NASCAR Camping World Truck series.

While most media stories have been comparing Raikkonen's arrival with that of his former McLaren team mate Juan Montoya's move to NASCAR at the end of 2006, the Colombian actually dived straight into the Sprint Cup championship and never tried his hand at Trucks. However, other F1 alumni have opted to take the Trucks route over the years.

Back in 2007, Jacques Villeneuve - world champion ten years previously with Williams - debuted in the Truck Series at Las Vegas. He finished 21st, and went on to compete in seven races as a planned prelude to moving to the Sprint Cup series (then called the Nextel Cup). However, after only two races in the top series, Villeneuve's sponsorship evaporated and he made only one further appearance, at Road America in 2010, as well as six appearances over three seasons in Nationwide races.

But Raikkonen will be making one small entry in the history books: in those seven appearances, Villeneuve never competed at Charlotte Motor Speedway - so Kimi will be the first former F1 world champion to take to the stage on the 1.5 mile quad-oval.

The earliest F1 transferee to NASCAR Trucks was Chilean former March driver Eliseo Salazar, who finished 17th in his sole outing in the series at Watkins Glen International in 1997.

Max Papis (Footwork) finished 29th when he debuted at the Truck series race in Texas in 2008, while Narain Karthikeyan (Jordan, Hispania) finished 13th in his series debut at Martinsville in 2010.

Scott Speed (Toro Rosso) finished 27th on his Truck debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 2008, and became the only former F1 driver to have won a Truck series race when he took the chequered flag at Dover International Speedway in May of the same year.

Nelson Piquet Jr. (Renault) debuted at Daytona in 2010 and is the only one of the ex-F1 racers to secure a top ten finish on his debut, finishing in sixth place. Piquet Jr. recently took a second place finish last month at Nashville and is a current contender for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year.

Along with Piquet Jr. and Papis, Kimi Raikkonen will be bidding to make Friday's race at Charlotte Motor Speedway the first time that three ex-F1 drivers have ever appeared in the same Truck series race together.

It might not be writing history on the same scale as his 2007 world title, but it's still a notable entry in the record books nonetheless.


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