F1 Great Kimi Raikkonen Making NASCAR Return With TrackHouse Racing

·2 min read
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images

Kimi Raikkonen is going stock car racing.

The 2007 Formula 1 world champion is scheduled to drive a Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International Aug. 21. Raikkonen’s run will be the first in Trackhouse’s recently announced PROJECT91 program, which is designed to field Cup cars in one-off races for internationally known drivers.

Raikkonen, 42, raced single events in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck series in 2011 but has not driven in the Cup Series.

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Raikkonen, a native of Finland, now lives in Switzerland, where Trackhouse owner Justin Marks visited him to discuss the PROJECT91 effort.

“I wasn’t looking to race again, but Justin came to my home in Switzerland and convinced me how serious he was about putting together a top-notch program,” Raikkonen said. “This will be fun, but it’s something I will take very seriously. I know how competitive the NASCAR Cup Series is, and it will be a big challenge.”

Raikkonen won the F1 championship for Ferrari in 2007. He won 21 F1 races and retired from the series in 2021 having raced for McLaren, Lotus, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari.

Veteran crew chief Darian Grubb will lead Raikkonen’s team at Watkins Glen.

Raikkonen, driving a Toyota fielded by Cup driver Kyle Busch, finished 27th in an Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2011. A week earlier, he was 15th in a Truck Series race at CMS.

“Kimi Raikkonen is the driver I first had in mind when we created PROJECT91,” Marks said. “Kimi is a world-renowned driver with a tremendous amount of talent and fan following.”

Marks said the Watkins Glen race is expected to be the only outing for the PROJECT91 program this season.

Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez drive full-time for Trackhouse in the Cup Series.