NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Pit Note #1
F1 Invasion Kimi Raikkonen was in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Center Friday answering questions for the first time since announcing in April he would compete in tonight’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
Raikkonen confirmed he is planning to compete tonight and that he will continue to compete in the World Rally Championship this year. He will take things day by day, has no plans for the future, and will see how it goes. And why did Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion, choose to jump into NASCAR? Well, because he likes to try new things.
“I’ve always been interested in many different motorsports,” Raikkonen said. “I want to try different things. This wasn’t the first time I’ve been offered to come here.”
Raikkonen is driving for Kyle Busch, who has previously said he might field trucks for Raikkonen in as many as five races this season. Raikkonen would not be pinned down to a number, though, nor any NASCAR plans at all, past Charlotte.
“If I completely suck, there’s no reason to come back,” Raikkonen said.
There’s no reason to think that might be the case. Arguably one of the best drivers in the world, Raikkonen has 18 wins and 16 poles in Formula 1, in addition to his ’07 title. He is known for being brash, confident… and fast.
“I commend him for trying different things,” five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson said. “He’s trying to race; I respect that. He just wants to race.”
If Raikkonen qualifies, it will mark the first time three former F1 competitors have been in a NASCAR Camping World Truck field, joining Nelson Piquet Jr. and Max Papis.
Feathered Invasion Tuesday of this week saw a couple of new fans flock to Charlotte Motor Speedway. A camper in the speedway’s Tom Johnson Camping Center Racing Resort reported to the office that a couple of killdeer birds had nested on the ground in one of the luxury spots.
Speedway officials took photographs of the birds and sent them to a wildlife biologist in the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in Raleigh, N.C., for identification. The birds are killdeers and, according to the USDA office, federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The nest cannot be disturbed by federal law; anyone doing so would face a severe fine and possible jail time.
The birds are nesting with four eggs that could take up to 40 days to hatch, which means the new fans will be here for both the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday and the Coca-Cola 600 May 29. The speedway has put up temporary fencing around the campsite and plans to relocate the human campers to another preferred area when they arrive this weekend.