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Raikkonen and Busch to part ways?

"As far as the Sonoma race, we've had no discussions about Cup stuff at all," said Busch, succinctly. "As far as I know, this weekend is the last hoorah with Kimi unless he wants to come back to do further races in NASCAR."

Raikkonen tried out a Sprint Cup ride on Tuesday on the road course at Virginia International Roadway commonly used by Sprint Cup drivers to repare for Sonoma events. Kimi got the loan of the Robby Gordon Motorsports #7 for the day, but it did not go well.

"Obviously it's what our goal was, to have a good test and see how it went," Gordon said. "Unfortunately, the test went bad." Raikkonen ran off road and severely damaged the nose of the car, resulting in an estimated two weeks' worth of damage. "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."

Did the experience sour Kimi's taste for further NASCAR adventures? Despite the cost and inconvenience for Robby Gordon, he's still open to taking discussions with Raikkonen further, if the Finn is so inclined: "That doesn't mean we wouldn't do it still," said Gordon.

Raikkonen certainly has no shortage of opportunities in NASCAR if he wants to take them up. His initial hook-up with Kyle Busch has given him an entrée into the NASCAR scene and set him up with connections with Nemechek and Robby Gordon if he wants to pursue them. His track outings even caught the eye of the NASCAR man of the moment, Carl Edwards, who was on track for Raikkonen's Nationwide practice session début

"Who is that in the #87?" he enquired over the radio, suddenly aware of an unfamiliar driving style. "He was driving the wheels off it ... Then I saw Perky Jerky on it. He definitely has some car control for sure. That's not lip service."

So the doors to NASCAR are open - or at least ajar - for Kimi Raikkonen; but perhaps NASCAR isn't falling over itself to usher him in to quite the extent that Kimi hoped and expected? Or perhaps it's just not proving as much fun as he hoped it would be.

Either way, Kimi Raikkonen will return to Europe next week to consider his next move - whether to carry on the appearances with (and payments to) Kyle Busch Motorsports for some more Truck outings, or more likely whether to pursue something in Sprint Cup or Nationwide. Or maybe, nothing at all; maybe the land of the Perky Jerky just isn't to his taste after all.

Raikkonen's US manager Todd Hirschfeld put it best and most accurately earlier this week, when he said: "This is the truth: Kimi does what Kimi wants to do."




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Erik Jones, driver of the #51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Camping World Truck Series car (Photo Credit: NASCAR)

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Cardboardhead - Unregistered

May 28, 2011 7:29 AM

I think Kimi is doing exactly the same what he did with Rally. Some testing with top cars and then some racing with leased team and finally decision to go fulltime or not. He still has contract on WRC races, with next one coming in one month. Now, about money. Kimi is not broke, nor his Ice1 team is. I could see that they just don't want to pay Kyle too much upfront, especially as Kimi is still just looking around. So, he gets his money, but not in one bulk. Kimi's reputation is good with money and there are loads of it. Personally I hope Kimi will go full either to NASCAR (Nationwide/Sprint and depending of these test races) or Formula 1 with Red Bull and his good friend Sebastian Vettel. My guess is NASCAR.



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