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The 2007 Formula 1 World Champion started 22nd in Sunday’s race, and ran in the midfield for most of the day.
However, after a late caution brought the field back together, he found himself in a perfect position to capitalize and gain track position. Having pitted just before the yellow flag, he stayed out and jumped up into the fourth position with less than ten laps to go.
What followed could only be described as chaos, with multiple incidents and several late-race restarts. Raikkonen fought for every spot in the full-contact racing, but faded and would eventually spin as well.
He was unable to claw back the lost track position at that point, finishing 29th as the last car on the lead lap. Raikkonen was also penalized after the race for short-cutting the esses on the final lap, getting hit with a 30-second time penalty. He had crossed the line in 27th, but dropped to 29th as a result of the penalty.
“I think it wasn’t too bad,” he said post-race. “We got unlucky with the incidents that happened. It was one of those things, unfortunately. Then there were no tires left. They kept coming, getting more restarts and more restarts, so I think after the spin I had, the tires were just done. It’s a shame because when we were there, but then we restart, and just wrong place, wrong time. It was a case of trying to stay out of the issues in the first corners and every time. It looked like you’d be very good, then three corners later, somebody’s going the wrong direction. There’s a bit of mess and lock involved.”
Kimi Raikkonen, Trackhouse Racing, Onx Homes / iLOQ Chevrolet Camaro
Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images
Raikkonen hasn’t given much thought to what comes next, but Trackhouse Racing team owner Justin Marks has previously said that the No. 91 car is his whenever he wants it.
“I don’t know,” said Raikkonen when asked about any future NASCAR starts. “I mean, nobody knows. It’s such a shame how it went in the end, but I think we did the right thing. We were there. But then on the restart it’s how it was. We’ll see what the future brings. Right now, I have no clue.
“It was a long race. Our cool suit didn’t work half of the race, it stopped working. So it was quite hot in the car. It was fun going through the field, but it was a bit intense on the restarts.”
Fellow F1 World Champion Jenson Button fared a bit better in the end and led all the ringers, placing 18th in his NASCAR debut.