Raikkonen: NASCAR schedule prevented full-time switch

By on Thursday, February 16, 2012

Raikkonen at Charlotte Motor Speedway in his first Camping World Truck Series race

Kimi Raikkonen has revealed that despite being offered a multi-million dollar deal last year to make a full-time switch to NASCAR racing, he turned it down due to the intensity of a full NASCAR schedule and his reluctance to move to the US to pursue it.

Raikkonen drove two races in NASCAR's national series last year, where his first race was in NASCAR’s third-tier Camping World Truck Series in a car prepared by Kyle Busch Motorsports. After one Truck race, Raikkonen stepped up a level to compete in a Nationwide Series race with a car prepared by Joe Nemechek. He finished 15th in the Trucks race and 27th at the Nationwide race. It is understood that Raikkonen was keen to try out the top level Sprint Cup Series but decided to return to Europe before he could take part in a Sprint Cup race.

A full Nationwide Series schedule this year consists of 33 races while a full Sprint Cup Series schedule this year consists of 39 races. The Finn was not prepared to move to the US to make a full-time switch to NASCAR, saying in an interview with Autosport: "I had a really good time there. But the biggest thing is that if you want to do it all the time, you have to move to the US. If there were less races, and you could stay in Europe, then I would probably have done it."

"It's a completely different way of doing things. The teams are very professional and I enjoyed it. It was something that probably in the future would be nice to do again," said Raikkonen, leaving the door open for more NASCAR races in the future. The 2007 Formula 1 world champion has also said that he would like to do more rallies in the future, although it remains to be seen whether Lotus will allow him to.

Raikkonen also had many positive things to say regarding his stint of racing around ovals.

"The racing was nice. You don't really think about the fact that you are just doing ovals because you have so many cars to race against. It looks very simple to drive around and be fast, but it's the same as in F1; it's the small details that make a difference. It's so close time-wise that with one tenth [slower] you are 20 places back, so it's still hard to be at the front."

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