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The rumors are true. Former Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen will run a limited schedule in the Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2011. Raikkonen's debut is scheduled for May 20 in the N.C Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway as owner Kyle Busch's teammate.

Raikkonen's nine-year F1 career saw 18 wins, 62 podium finishes and the 2007 Drivers' Championship. Since leaving the sport in 2009, Raikkonen has campaigned in World Rally Championship with his own team ICE 1 Racing.

Raikkonen's debut for KBM will be the first step in what the champ hopes will be a successful transition from open-wheel and rallying to NASCAR, a switch that fellow F1 champ Juan Pablo Montoya made in 2007. Raikkonen's sponsorship deal hasn't been revealed yet, but will be announced before the start of the Charlotte race.

[Source: Kyle Busch Motorsports | Image: © Gepa Pictures/McKlein/Red Bull Content Pool]
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Former F1 Champion Raikkonen to Drive Limited Schedule for KBM

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 2, 2011) – Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today that they have signed former Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen to drive a limited schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series during the 2011 season. Raikkonen is scheduled to make his NASCAR debut as a teammate to owner Kyle Busch in the N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 20.

Raikkonen comes to NASCAR with a resume that includes the 2007 Formula 1 World Drivers' Championship. Over his nine year career in Formula 1, the Finnish driver registered 18 wins and 62 podium finishes. The 31-year old is currently competing for a World Rally Car Championship for his own team, ICE 1 Racing.

"We are honored that Kimi Raikkonen, a former Formula 1 World Drivers' Champion and proven winner, has chosen to start his career in NASCAR with Kyle Busch Motorsports," said Busch. "Adding one of the most talented drivers in the world is a continuation of building a team of proven winners and champions at KBM. I look forward to assisting in Kimi's transition to NASCAR as both an owner and teammate."

"I am really excited to have the opportunity to start my venture into NASCAR with Kyle Busch Motorsports," said Raikkonen. "Kyle is one of the best in NASCAR, and being able to draw on his knowledge will be a valuable asset as I make my transition to a new form of racing. He has put together an experienced team that builds fast race trucks. I look forward to being a part of a team that has proven to be a winner on and off the race track."

"We are extremely excited to have Kimi Raikkonen begin his transition to NASCAR behind the wheel of Kyle Busch Motorsports' Toyota Tundra's," said KBM General Manager Rick Ren. "As NASCAR looks to expand their fan base and generate further interest in certain demographics, having a former Formula 1 Champion with worldwide appeal is a huge deal not just for KBM but for the sport as a whole."

Details of sponsorship and a schedule of races that Raikkonen will compete in will be released at a later date.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, I can't be mad at him, there money to be made in NASCAR.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Do you have any clue just how rich Kimi Raikkonen is. He needs cash like you need two nickels.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I hope he was watching the truck race today, that's what he"ll be expecting. He needs to be aggressive those are the types of drivers who succeed in NASCAR and I think he can be. Also that dirt exPerience will helP Alot he'll know how to handle a sliding car and out down fast laps. drivers in NASCAR like Jimmie,Jeff,carl,Tony,harvick,kasey have a major dirt racing background show proof of that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kimi and Kyle, a match made in heaven. As a long time F1 watcher, an interview with Kimi was always a delight . . . 130-150 word sentences, mumbled in a monotone. Kimi is the Yogi Berra of motor racing. But very very talented. I can't wait, I might even watch a NASCAR race replay once in a while.

      I loved his decision, a few years ago, to not sign with another F1 team for $10M when Ferrari was going to pay him $17M to buy out his contract. He took most of the year off , then went rallying.
      • 4 Years Ago

      Cant wait for the press conferences with Kimi.
      everyone will be like "daymgumit, what did he say??"
      • 4 Years Ago
      Another open wheeler trying NASCAR. Ask Sam Hornish how well its going for him.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ask Juan Pablo Montoya, Tony Stewart, Mario Andretti, and numerous open-wheelers who had/have successful careers in NASCAR.

        Tony Stewart is already a 2-time Sprint Cup Champion.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, OBVIOUSLY, the sponsor will be announced before the start of his first race... it'll be painted on his truck and all...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Watching NASCAR is quite boring, but so is watching F1 sometimes. Driving in those races in another story. I tried NASCAR in GT5 and to my surprise, it was a blast!
      • 4 Years Ago
      So Kimi goes from being one of most highly paid driver by the most loved and well known racing team in the world to being a pay driver in the lowly truck series? Definitely shows it has nothing to do with money, he's just interested in doing anything. But I think it's because he hasn't been able to be entirely successful anywhere. (we all know his single f1 title was down to luck, then after that he was thoroughly beaten by Felipe Massa, of all F1 drivers)
      • 4 Years Ago
      it's for the money right? But Kimi doesn't need it, so I wonder why bother...
      maybe just curiosity....

      I'll admit that Nascar isn't all drunk rednecks, but it has that reputation. And the racing is different, dare I say boring compared to ALMS courses but Nascar still draws lots of people=$$$.

      .... is this an April fools joke? I just don't see why Kimi would go this route.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well the 3 series/races he did say he would want to try right after telling his quitting F1 in a interview where WRC, Nascar and Le Mans.

        2 down and one to go i guess. Though he is still continuing WRC this year, just not full season, just like last year.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kimi Raikkonen is a racer and competitor, that's why he is going to NASCAR. He's not an upity keyboard jockey who whines about things that he has no clue about. He is going to experience it first hand because he can and should be applauded for his effort. I would love to have that opprotunity to drive NASCAR and no, I'm not from the south or smash beer cans into my face. To this day I blame my parents for not getting me a go-kart when I was 2 so I could be a pro driver! Ha ha ha!

      Villenueve is a guy I would like to see get another chance because he is very talented driver in any form. It's a shame he folded up so many cars in his NASCAR stint and is a bit old for a team to to take on. He's a bit of a project and sponsorships are not interested in projects in this economy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "fellow F1 champ" Montoya??? On which planet?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I understood the joke JP.

        Or the editors were thinking of the 1998 F3000 championship Juan won. That also starts with a F; just got the next pesky few characters wrong.
        • 4 Years Ago
        On "Planet Didn't Do The Research"
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dang. That was a joke!
        • 4 Years Ago
        F1/CART- same thing.
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