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Kimi was actually very fast... showed up already the next day at the Monaco Grand Prix hahahaha! Wild party with the "Finnish Jackass" The Dudesons. Check this out! http://racingnewsflash.com/content/r%C3 ... aco-gp-img
Second NASCAR race
Kimi Räikkönen Suffers Series of Unfortunate Events in NASCAR Nationwide Series Debut; Finishes 27th
Kimi Räikkönen and the No. 87 Perky Jerky Toyota Camry
CONCORD, NC (May 28, 2011) – After an impressive 15th-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race last week, Kimi Räikkönen decided to try his hand at the Nationwide Series by entering the Top Gear 300 in the NEMCO-owned No. 87 Toyota Camry, again with Perky Jerky as the primary sponsor. Despite an accident-shortened test with Robby Gordon on Tuesday, Räikkönen ran well in Nationwide Series practice on Thursday. By the final practice session, he was listed as 18th fastest (fastest lap: 30.642 seconds at 176.229 mph), already a marked improvement from last week.
By Saturday, the garage was still buzzing about Räikkönen’s presence in NASCAR and all were waiting to see how he would qualify in a Nationwide Series race car. Räikkönen posted a qualifying lap time of 28.896 seconds at 180.626 mph, which placed the No. 87 Perky Jerky Toyota Camry in the 22nd starting position.
Almost immediately after the green flag waved, Räikkönen remarked that the car was “way too tight” and very difficult to turn. Spotter Mike Swaim suggested he try a different line but the car remained tight. However, even with the difficult handling, Räikkönen managed to make it to the 18th position by Lap 10.
Thankfully, on Lap 25, a competition caution was scheduled so the No. 87 Perky Jerky team could make some adjustments to the car. KBM general manager and race day crew chief Rick Ren called for gas and chassis and air pressure adjustments to the Toyota Camry. With the No. 87 pit stall partially blocked because of the No. 62 car, the crew still successfully managed all adjustments and got Räikkönen back on track in the 21st position.
Räikkönen had been complaining that his feet and legs were burning inside the car. His suggested solution? “I may try putting my feet out the window.” To note, prior to the start of the race, Räikkönen had decided not to wear his insulated heel boots because he felt he would not need them. Although this decision did not cause any issue with his on-track performance, it did cause him quite a bit of additional discomfort, which leads this to become Unfortunate Event #1.
Soon after the restart on Lap 31, a caution came out on Lap 34, something that had greatly frustrated Räikkönen in last week’s truck race. Räikkönen commented that the car was now “quite loose.” Ren advised him that the car would “get better as (it) burned off fuel and air pressure.” The No. 87 team decided to stay out and, at the restart on Lap 38, Räikkönen was shown in the 22nd position.
Kimi remained quiet for the next 30 laps as he focused on gaining track position and by the time the third caution came out on Lap 73 for a blown engine on the No. 41 of Jeffrey Earnhardt, he was running in the 20th position.
Räikkönen mentioned again that his feet were burning and that he was trying to keep them off the floor. Crew chief Ren asked him if he wanted to try to put on the insulated heel boots that would possibly provided him some relief but he decided it would be too difficult to try and put them on during the pit stop without losing track position. Ren called for four tires, two cans of fuel and instructed the Perky Jerky crew to “loosen it up” after Räikkönen mentioned the car was now “too tight.” At the restart on Lap 78, Räikkönen was 21st.
Another quick caution came out on Lap 82 for yet another blown engine. This time it was the No. 81 of Blake Koch. Räikkönen said that the car was driving better and Ren mentioned that because of the adjustments made the car would possibly get tight again but at least they were headed in the right direction as to what changes to make. The Perky Jerky Toyota stayed out and restarted the race in the 15th position on Lap 91.
Unfortunate Event #2 occurred when Räikkönen began having trouble hearing Ren over the radio. Again, this caused no delay or issue with performance but the lack of communication between the two for several laps was discouraging to Kimi. Ren’s radio was soon fixed and all was back to normal.
Once out, Räikkönen again remained quiet over the radio as he worked on track position. After a little planning and strategy by Ren with a few other teams, the No. 87 team decided to pit on Lap 138, bringing the car in for two tires, fuel, a windshield tear-off and a drink for Räikkönen. Unfortunately, Räikkönen was handed the wrong water bottle (the empty one he had handed over to the crew), which, with the heat and the discomfort Kimi was experiencing in the car, was Unfortunate Event #3.
After leaving the pit stall and returning to the track, Räikkönen almost immediately complained that the car was “really bad”. Spotter Swaim soon saw that something was stuck under the front of the car, leading to Unfortunate Event #4. On Lap 144, Räikkönen brought the Perky Jerky Toyota in so the crew could remove the mysterious object AND give Kimi a fresh drink bottle. The culprit turned out to be the splitter from the No. 51. Once Räikkönen was back on track, a yellow flag was thrown on Lap 148 for debris, something that the No. 87 team was already aware of. This fifth Unfortunate Event would cause Räikkönen to restart in the 28th position, three laps down.
While under caution, Räikkönen remarked it “doesn’t matter what I do, the car is bad…all the time.” He also couldn’t understand why the car was so hot inside, to which crew chief Ren replied “it’s the first time running this car when it’s so hot, the teams will have to work to adjust the cooling systems.” Ren also let Räikkönen know that he was not alone; other drivers had been complaining about the heat inside the car as well.
Clearly frustrated, Räikkönen fell quiet for the remainder of the race to do everything he could to gain track position. He came on the radio briefly to again say that no matter what he did the car just wasn’t responding.
When the checkered flag dropped, Räikkönen finished in the 27th position, four laps down. Even though it was a disappointing finish for the 2007 Formula 1 champion, he maintained solid track position through all the “Unfortunate Events” of the day, brought the car home in good shape and pocketed great track and competition experience. AND, now that the race was over, Räikkönen was finally able to soothe his burning feet and legs by throwing them into a cooler full of ice as soon as he arrived at his motor coach…relief after a frustrating day.
--Kimi Räikkönen Post-Race Quotes:
What happened that made the race car so hot?
“The floor got really hot under the seat. I don’t know why the car was so hot inside. It was hurting on the heels, but I couldn’t really do anything. Just tried to keep my foot off the floor and just hold them up.”
Did you enjoy racing in the Nationwide Series?
“In the beginning, yes, but the car was getting more and more difficult. It was nice in the beginning and I could overtake on the restart and the car felt really good. It really turned out to be a really bad day with the handling just because I couldn’t get the car to turn and had to almost stop in the corners because it was pushing all the time. The same thing happened in the first and second practice and then we could improve it in the second practice, but somehow something is not right.”
What are your future NASCAR plans?
“My plan was always to do these first two races and then I have to go back to Europe and do some Rallies and then we will see what happens.”
--KBM general manager and race-day crew chief Rick Ren Post-Race Quotes:
Do you think Kimi Räikkönen was struggling with the handling of the car?
“The aero package on these cars is -- the front running guys are saying the exact same thing. These things just do not handle very well and like where he’s (Kimi Räikkönen) talking about he feels the front end solid, you’ll hear race car drivers say their tires feel like they’re basketballs. If you look at the air pressure that comes in on those tires, that’s what it is. It’s just a new feel to him. I’m sure he has never raced cars with that much air pressure in the tires. It feels abnormal to him, but it’s part of how these cars react.”
How did Kimi Räikkönen perform on the restarts?
“I was really impressed with his (Kimi Räikkönen) restarts. He did a really good job. One of the other teams got on the spotter because he was pushing him out of the way and he needed to go. When we unloaded for practice Thursday, he was aggressive and attacked the race track where he was very apprehensive the first Truck practice here. I feel like he adapted a lot better. Whether it’s the car or the truck or whether it was because he had run the week before. In practice, he passed some cars low and passed some cars high and I really felt good when we went home Thursday night that he was prepared to come and do this.”
Some things to consider. First, the move up from the Truck series to the Nationwide series is a big step. The trucks have more downforce and are generally easier to drive. This is intentional since it is the entry level class for the upper levels of Nascar. Second, these cars change in handling during the course of a fuel run and during the course of a race as more rubber gets laid down and track temperature changes. Third, the track Kimi selected for his Nationwide debut is known for changing almost by the lap and one of the most difficult for newcomers. Most experienced Nascar people commented that he would have a hard time dealing with the new car and the track in question with so little stock car experience. The very same people were very impressed with his performance. There are many ways to adjust the handling of these cars to correct oversteer or understeer and as a result the best combination for a given situation can be very hard to find. The current 5 time Cup champion and his crew chief are currently the best at finding the right combination and keeping or improving the car as changes are needed. This takes an unusual level of communication between driver and crew chief. Magic of that kind is so difficult that most believe that neither the driver or crew chief would achieve that kind of success again if they were split up. It is not possible for any driver no matter how talented to drive these cars with limited seat time and communicate enough information or anticipate how a new track will change. It is also not possible for a crew chief to do the same on his own. It takes time working together to develop an understanding of what is needed. Kimi has shown amazing ability as a driver in Nascar, but it is not a series where a guy can instantly be competitive.