bobpockrass wrote:Among 43 truck entries: 1-TBA 2-Bowyer 10-Cobb 15-Raikkonen 18-KyBusch 50-Bell 51-Justin Johnson 73-Skinner 99-Silas. #nascar
http://twitter.com/#!/bobpockrass/statu ... 6890835968
bobpockrass wrote:Among 43 truck entries: 1-TBA 2-Bowyer 10-Cobb 15-Raikkonen 18-KyBusch 50-Bell 51-Justin Johnson 73-Skinner 99-Silas. #nascar
"Keep working at it", Montoya tells Kimi
Just days before Kimi Raikkonen makes his NASCAR debut in the Camping World Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday, Juan Montoya offers some words of advice.
The news of Kimi Raikkonen's try-out in NASCAR in the Camping World Truck Series first broke almost two months ago: and even after all this time, it still sounds like a bit of a huge April Fool's Day joke.
But on Friday, May 20 it becomes a reality as 2007 F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen heads out onto Charlotte Motor Speedway to make his NASCAR series debut with the Kyle Busch Motorsports team.
The one current NASCAR Sprint Cup driver who has any idea of what's in store for Raikkonen is the driver who made a similar transition from the glamorous world of F1 to the more down-to-earth scene of American stock car racing - his former McLaren team mate Juan Pablo Montoya.
So what advice can the Colombian offer the new arrival from Finland?
"Keep working at it and listen to the advice people give you," says Montoya. "Ask questions and spend as much time behind the wheel, getting seat time, as you can."
Montoya knows what he's talking about: NASCAR hasn't come easy for him since he arrived in the series in 2007 after becoming disenchanted with the world of F1. He won the Sonoma road race in his rookie year and has since had three top-five and six top-10 finishes, and even become the first non-American to make it into the Chase at the end of the 2009 regular season. But oval victories and a Sprint Cup title still seem very far off for him.
"It'll be a tough transition but if he dedicates his time to [NASCAR], he should be okay," said Montoya. "He'll adjust after some time ... It's a big transition all around and just one of those things he'll need to get used to.
"He's a great race car driver but he'll need to learn to take care of his equipment in NASCAR. I know he likes to drive his cars hard and you can't do that over here."
Despite the fact that Montoya and Raikkonen entered F1 in the same year - 2001 - they came from very different backgrounds even then. Montoya had battled his way up through the US racing scene and won the Indy 500 race and the CART series title before moving to F1 as a very proven winner; Raikkonen on the other hand emerged out of nowhere, a karting star with unproven senior formula experience who needed special dispensation from the FIA to get a super-license to join Sauber. Within a year he had made a splash on the track and been snapped up by McLaren as "the next big thing", duly going on to win the world title with Ferrari in 2007 - something Montoya himself never did.
So what does Montoya think about Raikkonen's decision to try his hand at NASCAR Trucks?
"I think that it's cool that he's coming over to NASCAR. He's a cool guy and I think he will fit right in," he says, before offering a word of caution. "[But] my first choice wouldn't have been Charlotte [for a debut.] That's a tough track in general. I would've picked Talladega or Daytona before Charlotte."
Raikkonen will be under pressure straight away at Charlotte, with qualification carrying with it the potential for a very embarrassing public failure.
The news about Kimi's switch to NASCAR still leaves experienced motor sports journalists shaking their heads in wonder, not least because the US scene is notorious for the amount of media work required of its drivers who become almost full time corporate spokespeople for their sponsors.
"Both [Montoya and Raikkonen] suffer from lockjaw when it comes to the press, and neither is a fun interview," said Bob Varsha, longtime voice of F1 on the US sports channel SPEED, commenting on his scepticism about Raikkonen's decision to come to NASCAR. "I still find it odd, because he is such a reserved guy and hated dealing with the press in F1. That supposedly was one of his motivations for leaving the sport after winning the world championship.
"If Kimi knows anything about NASCAR, he knows NASCAR drivers are almost compelled to be gregarious, fan-friendly, work with the press and so on, which is completely unlike the Kimi those of us who have been involved with his career in F1 know."
One thing that's perceived to have held Montoya back in NASCAR is his difficulty in "playing nicely with others", as the sport often relies on on- and off-track alliances and partnerships. Montoya's still seen as very much something of a lone wolf, and Raikkonen could find himself in a similar situation.
"He was nicknamed 'Ice Man' when he raced in F1 so if that tells you anything!" laughs Montoya.
"Both are recognised as being incredibly brave and fast, said SPEED's Varsha. "But the key with both men is that neither enjoyed a reputation as either a team player or a technically astute driver ... If the car works as they need it to, they succeed. If it doesn't, working with the engineers to make it better was never something that seemed to interest them."
In the meantime, Kimi has been busy making sure that his "day job" over in the World Rally Championship doesn't feel unloved and unwanted by all the attention buzzing around his NASCAR debut.
"I wouldn't be doing any of the racing if it clashed with anything which I'm doing in the WRC," he emphasised to the WRC series website. "The races have been picked because they fit around the rallies I'm doing. It doesn't matter where I am when I'm not on the rallies."
Raikkonen, who recently finished sixth on Rally Jordan, says he's looking forward to his next WRC appearance, at the Acropolis Rally of Greece from 16-19 June. "The driving has been better and we're pushing harder now. My only target really is to improve in the WRC."
Meanwhile it looks like Raikkonen's NASCAR excursion might be starting a trend. His Finnish compatriot Mika Salo has reportedly told the Turun Sanomat (the same paper that broke the story of Kimi heading Stateside in March) newspaper that he's also set to try his hand at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
"This year it is finally happening," the 44-year-old former Ferrari and Toyota driver is quoted as having told the Finnish publication, adding that he will make his series debut in July.
Another former F1 driver, Nelson Piquet Jr., has also been racing in the Truck Series since 2010 and in the last race took his best result so far with second at Nashville driving with Kevin Harvick Incorporated.
sleenster wrote:Ok, so this looks like the schedule on Friday:
9:30AM ET (local time) NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Practice
4:00PM ET (local time) NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Qualifying
8:00PM ET (local time) NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
And we can most probably see a stream on http://www.vipbox.tv/
TRUCKS: Raikkonen Following Path Paved By Former F1 Teammate Montoya
Juan Pablo Montoya’s interest in NASCAR seemed to appear out of nowhere, much like that of fellow ex-F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen...
RAIKKONEN FOLLOWING PATH PAVED BY FORMER FORMULA ONE TEAMMATE MONTOYA
MONTOYA, VARSHA WEIGHT IN ON F1 CHAMP’S NASCAR DEBUT IN FRIDAY’S NCWTS RACE LIVE ON SPEED™ AT 8 P.M. ET
Varsha: “They are from the school of ‘drive the wheels off it, and if it lasts, we win.”
Kimi Raikkonen’s NASCAR debut in Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race draws both comparisons and contrasts to former Formula One teammate Juan Pablo Montoya’s NASCAR entrée.
Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One champion, makes his NASCAR debut for Kyle Busch Motorsports at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (live on SPEED at 8 p.m. ET; NCWTS Setup with Krista Voda at 7:30 p.m. ET).
Flash back to 2006, when Chip Ganassi tapped Montoya, with whom he had won the 1999 CART championship, to compete in four NASCAR Nationwide Series races and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead. Montoya’s interest in NASCAR seemed to appear out of nowhere, much as Raikkonen’s did with Kyle Busch.
When Montoya first dipped his toes into the NASCAR pool, many said if any open wheel driver could succeed in a stock car, he was the likeliest. While success wasn’t overnight for Montoya, he won at Sonoma in his rookie year in 2007, and went on to score three top-five and six top-10 finishes. Now, as Montoya watches Raikkonen begin to carve his own path to NASCAR, he offers one singular piece of advice to the Finn.
“Keep working at it and listen to the advice people give you,” advised Montoya, driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. “Ask questions and spend as much time behind the wheel, getting seat time, as you can.”
Montoya and Raikkonen competed against each other in F1 from 2001 to 2006 and were teammates at McLaren in 2005 and part of 2006. Although both eventually turned to NASCAR, the avenues that led them to Formula One varied.
“Both Montoya and Raikkonen came into F1 in 2001, but under very different circumstances,” said Bob Varsha, longtime voice of F1 on SPEED “Montoya had a distinguished record in the lower ‘development series,’ including winning the Formula 3000 championship, the equivalent to today’s GP2 series, the final step before F1. He was contracted to the Williams team, but they had no place for him, so they loaned him to Ganassi in CART, where he was an immediate sensation, winning the championship in his rookie season. Kimi, on the other hand, had virtually no record in the lower formulae; he was a karting star who had driven only 23 races in any kind of racing car when the Sauber team hired him. The team had to cut a deal with the FIA just to get Kimi a license. But he proved himself and McLaren grabbed him for 2002.”
Raikkonen also has proven himself as a hard-charger, something Montoya can relate to but has learned doesn’t necessarily serve a driver well in NASCAR.
“He was nicknamed ‘Ice Man’ when he raced in F1 so if that tells you anything (laughing),” Montoya said. “He’s a great race car driver but he’ll need to learn to take care of his equipment in NASCAR. I know he likes to drive his cars hard and you can’t do that over here.”
“Both (Montoya and Raikkonen) are recognized as being incredibly brave and fast, especially on cold tires,” Varsha observed. “But the key with both men is that neither enjoyed a reputation as either a team player or a technically astute driver. They are from the school of ‘drive the wheels off it, and if it lasts, we win.’ If the car works as they need it to, they succeed. If it doesn’t, working with the engineers to make it better was never something that seemed to interest them.”
Raikkonen’s reputation as reserved with the media also precedes him, much as Montoya’s as a hard-nosed, perhaps brash, driver did. But the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing driver thinks that, given time, his former teammate will fare just fine in the NASCAR world, where media and fan access to drivers is nearly unlimited.
“He’ll adjust after some time,” Montoya surmised. “It’s a big transition all around and just one of those things he’ll need to get used to.”
“Both (Montoya and Raikkonen) also suffer from lockjaw when it comes to the press, and neither is a fun interview …” Varsha stated. “I still find it odd (Raikkonen moving to NASCAR) because he is such a reserved guy and hated dealing with the press in F1. That supposedly was one of his motivations for leaving the sport after winning the ’07 World Championship. If Kimi knows anything about NASCAR, he knows NASCAR drivers are almost compelled to be gregarious, fan-friendly, work with the press and so on, which is completely unlike the Kimi those of us who have been involved with his career in F1 know."
However, at the end of the day, despite the media and fan spotlight and the looming differences between F1 and NASCAR, Montoya thinks Raikkonen will survive.
“My first choice wouldn’t have been Charlotte,” Montoya said. “That’s a tough track in general. I would’ve picked Talladega or Daytona before Charlotte … I think that it’s cool that he’s coming over to NASCAR. He’s a cool guy and I think he will fit right in. It’ll be a tough transition but if he dedicates his time to these (trucks), he should be okay.”
http://www.nascar.com/news/110517/kraik ... ines/truckAuton takes Raikkonen's adjustment personally
Series director knows his role is to make sure rookie is comfortable at Charlotte
There may be only a handful of active drivers in the world with a resume as impressive as 2007 Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen. But when Raikkonen walks into the garage area at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend, it's as a Camping World Truck Series rookie.
And for series director Wayne Auton, that means making Raikkonen feel at home.
"We're fortunate enough to have such a great series that we have a competitor like Kimi Raikkonen want to come and compete in Trucks," Auton said. "The one thing we will do for him, just like any other driver, is bring him in, set him down, talk to him, explain to him some NASCAR ways, and mostly make him feel comfortable. Most rookies who come in here don't set the world on fire right off the bat. As the series director, that's part of my job [to explain things].
"And then we go into things like, 'Here's how this race track races compares to other race tracks that you've raced at. You may have been here before, but this turn's a little different. You want to run high here, you want to run low here.' It's our job to make sure they feel comfortable, No. 1."
And that's as much about what's going on off the track as much as it is getting strapped in and making laps, Auton said.
"We bring them in and say, 'Here's when the meetings are. Here's the papers you've got to sign. Here's where the drivers meeting location is and by the way, you've got to go to the rookie meeting or you miss practice. You've got to be at the drivers meeting or you go to the rear. You've got to be at driver introductions in uniform, ready to go,' " he said.
Raikkonen, who won 18 F1 races over eight seasons, was impressive enough during testing sessions to land a ride with Kyle Busch's Truck team this season, beginning with Friday's 200-miler at Charlotte. Even though he's run more than a dozen World Rally Championship races, Auton said stock cars should present a different challenge to Raikkonen.
"I think the biggest thing he's going to have to get used to is he's used to open-wheel, open-cockpit [cars]," Auton said. "Now he's going to have a roof over his head and windows around him. And oh, by the way, there's going to be 35 other competitors -- and no disrespect to any other racing series, but these guys are usually side by side for 200 miles, 250 miles, whatever we race."
Auton said all rookies go through a learning curve, particularly when it comes to knowing the changes in downforce when another truck is racing close to your right rear bumper at high speeds.
"I think that's going to be his hardest adjustment: What does it feel like, especially for somebody in the Truck Series, when somebody's on that right side," Auton said. "Because if you don't know what it feels like, it will pull you around. And I don't care how great a driver you are.
"We've seen it happen to our two-time champion, Todd Bodine, at Kansas Speedway last year. A truck came up on the right side and off he went. And you can't sit here and tell anybody that. They've got to get that feel for it on the race track.
"Kimi Raikkonen is used to having someone on that right side, but it's not pulling that vehicle and tugging on it. Ricky Carmichael, when he came in, he had that experience but when he got here, he'll tell you it was the hardest thing he ever did, especially when you get to these faster race tracks."
The majority of Raikkonen's racing experience has come in high horsepower-to-weight ratio, high downforce vehicles. Because of that, Auton said his decision to try the Truck Series first was a smart move.
"The good thing about Kimi coming to trucks is -- of all of our NASCAR national series -- the Truck Series has the most downforce, but it's also the draggiest," Auton said. "So it sort of offsets.
"How does it plant when you go in? Where do you let off to actually make the truck turn itself without fighting it? Do I get on the brakes here? For him coming from a vehicle with the tons of downforce that they have, it's probably going to be a lot less than he's used to but it's a lot more than what it would be if he was in a Nationwide or a Cup car."
Auton said Charlotte should certainly provide an adequate challenge for the driver nicknamed "the Iceman." Even though Raikkonen is a world-class driver, it'll be his first time on a track that has befuddled the best, so having a mentor is a huge assist.
"I'll get another driver to go over and watch them on the race track and then while they're out there is run maybe behind them for a little bit," Auton said. "The first thing we'll tell Kimi to do when he comes into Charlotte is get out there and follow somebody for a little bit and learn the line of the race track, No. 1.
"Learning the line is probably the hardest thing that a rookie can do. Kimi's coming into a race track that's so track sensitive that one lap, it'll be this and the next lap, it's something totally different."
NASCAR approval for new drivers a long process
Bodine heads credentialing committee, tasked with checking out all new drivers
When Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen decided earlier this season that he wanted to race in NASCAR, he had to do one thing every prospective driver must do to get approval: He had to submit a resume to NASCAR's driver credentialing committee, chaired by Brett Bodine.
Bodine is director of cost and research at NASCAR's research and development center in North Carolina. But he also keeps a detailed database of drivers who have interest in racing in one of NASCAR's three national series. And Bodine admitted he rarely gets a resume like the one Raikkonen submitted, but it's still his job to make sure Raikkonen would be comfortable racing in the Truck Series.
"The guy's a world champion Formula 1 driver," Bodine said. "I don't know if there's many credentials that top that, you know?
"Certainly where he wanted to start racing was fine with us. He wanted to start in the Trucks at Charlotte, and that's a great place for him to get started. That's what we approved him for. It's all based off his previous racing experience. And everybody gets their start in different ways, and that's where he's going to get his start."
But approving drivers with less stellar resumes is the trickier part. Bodine said a number of factors come into play.
"A driver's race experience is the key," Bodine said. "The kind of cars you race, the kind of tracks you're racing on, how fast do you go? The quality of the field. All of those things weigh into what that experience is worth.
"So for a young man or woman who comes out of Legends cars up to a world champion, they all have race experience and you just have to look at each individual resume independently."
The committee is made up of series directors and vice presidents, and Bodine will bring up candidates for debate once he's satisfied that the driver in question has done what he claims to have done.
"I do a tremendous amount of research on drivers I don't know much about or haven't heard much of," Bodine said. "Obviously, first-time drivers or drivers who have not raced within NASCAR, I'll double-check their resumes to make sure they're accurate. And I'll be honest with you, I've found resumes that weren't exactly right. That's my job to check up on them and make sure their information is correct."
And it's up to the committee to determine the best starting level for each new driver. In addition to having three series requiring varying amounts of experience, Bodine said NASCAR approves drivers based on track size and speed. So a driver might have the correct experience level for short tracks but not superspeedways.
"When a driver sends in a resume, not all the time do they know where they want to go race," Bodine said. "So we basically will place them. Maybe they have a series picked out, but they may not know where we're going to allow them to start. We kind of determine all of that for them.
"Some drivers ask for a series and we won't let them in that series because they don't have enough experience. We've had drivers that we've upgraded to other series or bigger race tracks and they've gone up there, not performed to our liking and we've pulled them back, made them go backwards and start over again."
Bodine said safety is ultimately at the heart of NASCAR's approval process.
"We're all about making sure the driver can compete safely and comfortably at the level we have them placed," Bodine said. "Not only are we protecting the driver from themselves, but we're also protecting the other competitors."
"I think the biggest thing he's going to have to get used to is he's used to open-wheel, open-cockpit [cars]," Auton said. "Now he's going to have a roof over his head and windows around him.
Claudie_Schnaudie wrote:"I think the biggest thing he's going to have to get used to is he's used to open-wheel, open-cockpit [cars]," Auton said. "Now he's going to have a roof over his head and windows around him.
Has this guy ever seen a rally car?