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Kimi Raikkonen runs in Nationwide practice

Given that total lack of testing experience in the hardware, it's impossible to think that this won't likely be a truncated appearance in the Nationwide race on Saturday at 2.30pm local time, unless Kimi is very lucky - or very, very good.

In the interval between his Truck Series début six days ago and today's Nationwide bow, Kimi occupied himself with a Sprint Cup car test on a road course at Virginia International Roadway - where it seems he only managed about 20 laps before running off and badly damaging the nose of the Robby Gordon Motorsports #7 that he was borrowing for the day.

"I went out and just ran a bit wide and I decided to go in the grass, but unfortunately there was a big hole in the grass and it destroyed the front a bit," he said, in what sounded like an oddly similar accident to that which wrecked the race-winning car of Carl Edwards at Charlotte last week following the All-Star event.

"That was the car that finished second last year at Sonoma. So that was our primary. We've got our work cut out for us," said Robby Gordon when he saw the damage to his car, estimating the repair time at two weeks.

In the end, the accident didn't put him off deciding to try Nationwide this weekend, although it may be giving him pause for thought before committing to a Sprint Cup appearance even if it were to be on a road course, his forté.

"It would be nice to go and do [Infineon Raceway at Sonoma] but I don't know if it's going to happen or not," he said. "We'll see what happens this weekend. I have to go back and do my [WRC] rally stuff, and we'll see."

Raikkonen goes Nationwide: the story so far

The move up to the middle series was teased by Raikkonen during the press activity surrounding his Truck début at Charlotte Motor Speedway, in which he finished a very creditable 15th place and on the lead lap after grappling with a loose truck early on. When asked whether he would be trying Nationwide, Kimi had said "We'll see".

His team owner, Kyle Busch, had danced around the question by telling reporters "We don't have a Nationwide Series license [at Kyle Busch Motorsports], and our crew guys aren't licensed for the Nationwide Series or anything," Busch said. "It would have to be with somebody else."

But Kyle had been found out when reporters spotted what looked suspiciously like a Nationwide car sitting in the KBM garage. "I don't own it," Busch said. "You'll find out next week," he'd added.

And so we did, when it was revealed to be a loaner from Joe Nemechek's NEMCO Motorsports who would supply the car (which KBM would assemble), the back up, the transporter, the crew (supplemented with KBM's own) - and most importantly, the owner points for the #87 that guaranteed entry without Raikkonen needing to qualify.




Related Pictures

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Kimi Raikkonen, driver of the #15 Perky Jerky Toyota, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 20 in Charlotte, N.C. [Picture credit: Streeter Lecka, Getty Images for NASCAR]
Former Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen talks with car owner and fellow driver Joe Nemechek during practice as Raikkonen prepares to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Raikkonen`s fastest lap in the No. 87 was his 19th lap with a time of 31.241 seconds. [Picture credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]
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ZeppoM - Unregistered

May 28, 2011 11:24 AM

But he is committed. He is committed to WRC this year. He is not driving in Argentina where WRC is now because of cost (he is not driving for Citroen's factory team). If he were he wouldn't be in Charlotte. He has no exact plans for year 2012. It could be staying in WRC or returning to F1 or maybe NASCAR. So he is interested in NASCAR and wants to try how it feels. Originally he made a deal for 3 maybe 5 Truck races. Now he probably has used the budget for first 3 races in 1 Truck and 1 Nationwide race and smashing Gordon's Cup car. He had a change to try different NASCAR cars and he took it. What's wrong about that. According Autosport he already could have made a NASCAR deal for 2012 but he didn't. At last March he said NASCAR is a very tough and a top racing series. So he wants to first see if he is any good at it before making decisions. I hope he gets a car and sponsors to try in Sonoma.

Marybeth - Unregistered

May 27, 2011 1:46 AM

Kimi's crew chief, Rick Ren, also his cc last weekend in the truck race, said that he is impressed with Kimi's from last week to this week. When asked by a reporter, Bob Dillner I believe, what he had learned from last weekend to this weekend, Kimi said, 'to know how the weekend works'. Things are coming along. :)



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