Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

lauantai 21. toukokuuta 2011

Kimi´s debut in NASCAR very impressive!

May 20 was the day I had been waiting for very eagerly after it had been confirmed earlier that the 2007 F1 world champion Kimi Räikkönen was going to make his NASCAR debut in the Truck Series on that day at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Before watching the race on TV I didn´t know much about NASCAR. I knew that the most races were driven at oval tracks and in the USA the sport is much more popular than Formula 1 but that was about all I knew beforehand. I did have an image of NASCAR being quite boring due to driving at the oval tracks.

Without Kimi Räikkönen making his debut in NASCAR with the Perky Jerky Toyota I probably wouldn´t have bothered to watch any NASCAR race on TV. But watching the race was actually quite an interesting experience! Though Kimi ´s pace in the practices was cautious and he qualified 31st he managed to keep his car on the track (in spite of touching slightly the barrier a few times). The press conference before the race start was absolutely awesome. Kimi was very talkative and answered media´s questions in a good mood. I don´t remember many occasions from his Formula 1 career that he would have talked so much during an interview! The press conference gave me an impression that the multitalented Finnish motorsports star enjoyed the world of NASCAR.

The race was certainly... interesting. I had expected some crashes and yellow flags happening during the race but surely I didn´t expect the safety car on the track 10 times during a single race!! And when somebody hit the wall or there was a collision between some drivers, the safety car stayed out for several laps which took quite some time. And this was something that made the race feel slightly boring. Those incidents causing yellow flags happened so often and -to me- it seemed that just when there was thrilling side by side racing some incident occured and there were yellow flags out again...! No wonder that for Kimi as a rookie it was hard to find the rhythm!

On the other hand all the safety car episodes made sure that there was battle for the victory until the very end when nobody could pull out a gap to his rivals. And the racing looked everything but boring - a lot of overtaking for example. Kimi´s driving made a huge impression on me: he was determined to defend his position, did some overtaking and no mistakes! He managed to avoid collisions aswell thanks to his rapid reactions in some situations.

Starting from 31st place on the grid and making his way to the 15th place is a very impressive achievement indeed! Of course Kimi has a superb car -maybe the best in the Truck Series as we have seen his team-mate Kyle Busch taking four victories out of six this season... But there´s absolutely no doubt of Kimi being a hugely talented and skillful racing driver. And it seems to be the case that whatever Kimi really enjoys doing  also brings success to him sooner or later!

All the drivers and the teams are still a mess in my head but I´ve started to feel awakened interest towards the American racing series. And I can´t wait to see Kimi back in action at the very same Charlotte Motor Speedway next weekend when he´ll race in Nationwide! He´s familiar with the track already so I´m expecting him to improve his performance. But summa summarum... I´m sure Kimi will bring a lot of new fans to NASCAR also here in Europe where the series is pretty unknown. Who knows if Iceman makes me love NASCAR... like F1 and WRC!!

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