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If you just felt a sudden chill it’s because the Iceman — 2007 Formula 1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen — is returning for another crack at the NASCAR Cup Series.
Trackhouse Racing has announced that the F1 great will make his second appearance for the team, hopping inside their No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro for the Cup Series’ stop at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, later this month.
Raikkonen made his Cup Series debut last season at Watkins Glen, hopping behind the wheel of Trackhouse Racing’s No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro. His day ended early after being caught in an incident with teammate Ross Chastain (something a lot of drivers experienced last season).
The No. 91 is part of Trackhouse Racing’s PROJECT91 program which aims to put international drivers in stock cars.
“When we announced Kimi last year I said he was the global superstar I had in mind when we created PROJECT91. I think you saw the fan reception across the world and Kimi’s performance in the car was proof of the concept,” team owner and founder Justin Marks said.
“Kimi’s following is massive and it’s great for NASCAR, Trackhouse plus I think Kimi really enjoys our racing.”
Raikkonen Knows Circuit of the Americas Well
Raikkonen — who retired from Formula 1 after the 2021 season — impressed during his first time behind the wheel of a Cup Series car.
“I had a fantastic time in NASCAR,” Räikkönen said. “There was a lot to learn in a very short amount of time, but everyone was very helpful, the competition was a big challenge. This time I get to race on a track I am familiar with so there won’t be as steep of a learning curve. I want to have fun, but also do as well as we can.”
It’s fitting that Raikkonen will make his second Cup Series Start at COTA. It’s a circuit that was purpose-built for Formula 1 and one that he’ll know well. Plus, it’s the site of his last career Formula 1 victory, the 2018 United States Grand Prix which he won while driving for Ferrari. Raikkonen won 21 Formula Grand Prix over 19 seasons.
This is exciting, and as any Formula 1 fan will tell you, if you have access to team radio at COTA later this month, you’ll want to be on Raikkonen’s channel.
The man cranks out more good radio than Howard Stern did back before he got all soft.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle