[…] Busch also said there are no further plans to field former Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen in any races this season. Raikkonen ran the truck and Nationwide races for Kyle Busch Motorsports at Charlotte. "Unfortunately, we haven’t heard from his people," Busch said. "We’d love to have Kimi back. He was fun to work with. He did a nice job with it. If he wanted to come back and run for a few races, we could do it." […]
Un riassunto della situazione contrattuale di Kimi in chiave 2012 e non solo.
Kimi Räikkönen won’t commit to WRC or NASCAR for 2012
By ANTHONY PEACOCK on 7/31/2011
Ex-Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen might walk away from the World Rally Championship at the end of this season.
The Finn, who turns 32 in October, is competing in the WRC this year with a privately backed team, with nothing like the funding he enjoyed from Red Bull last season. Asked this weekend about his future in motorsports, Raikkonen said he has no firm plans for 2012 in either the WRC or in NASCAR, where he has competed recently.
“We haven’t really given a thought to what’s going to happen next year,” said Raikkonen. “[Or] if we’re going to do anything at all.”
Following his troubled rookie season in the WRC last year, Raikkonen’s pace and consistency have improved considerably in 2011.
Asked about his chances of developing as a rally driver in years to come, Raikkonen said, “There’s never any guarantee about the speed, but obviously experience will help, little by little, depending on the event, to get closer to the leaders. But I can’t say anything really, let’s wait and see what we’re doing next year.”
Raikkonen on July 30 finished ninth on the Rally Finland, maintaining his record of scoring points in all five of the rallies that he has contested so far this year.
Da TS.fi traduzione Nicole@KRForum Ufficiale
Kimi is offered both Nascar-races and cars
Todd Hirschfeld, who takes care of Kimi Räikkönen’s matters in Nascar-circles was for the first time in a rally.
Several Sprint Cup -cars and budget for Räikkönen in Nascar races could be arranged, for example to Watkins Glen’s race in the middle of August. Kimi alone decides what he will do.
Next week Räikkönen will test his Citroen for two days before the next WRC-rally in Germany. It looks like he wouldn’t have Nascar-races planned in the near future.
– I don’t know, let’s see, Räikkönen replied to questions about Nascar-races.
Deal falls through for Kimi Raikkonen to drive for Robby Gordon at Infineon Raceway
BROOKLYN, Mich. – Robby Gordon won’t have open-wheel star Kimi Raikkonen driving one of his cars next week at Infineon Raceway, just another twist in what has been a strange season for his race team.
Gordon will race this weekend at Michigan and again next week at Infineon but might not be back behind the wheel of his own Sprint Cup car until the Brickyard 400 in late July.
The driver/owner had hoped to field two cars at the road course at Infineon – one for him and another for Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One champion. Raikkonen wrecked Gordon’s main road-course car at a test last month.
Gordon just finished getting that car repaired and he and Raikkonen couldn’t work out a deal for the Finnish driver to make his Cup debut for Robby Gordon Motorsports.
Raikkonen had driven in truck and Nationwide races for Kyle Busch Motorsports at Charlotte and left the door open to come back to America to compete at Infineon. Todd Hirschfield of the agency HMS Worldwide, which has brokered Raikkonen’s NASCAR deals, said Raikkonen has no plans to race next week at Infineon.
“I wish, but no,” Gordon said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “Kimi is a hell of a race-car driver. I am a fan of his at the same time. … He’s talented. These cars are just a lot different than a Formula One car.”
Gordon tested a road-course car in the last couple of weeks while the car Raikkonen wrecked was rebuilt.
“That was my primary car that finished second last year [at Infineon],” Gordon said. “That [crash] was a big deal for us. It will be done by the weekend. It’s a good car. It’s back to what it was.”
Gordon, who has had to start and park his car at times this year due to lack of sponsorship, will attempt to run the entire race at Michigan and Infineon. His next race likely will be Indianapolis in late July. He also has planned to run the Nationwide race at Montreal in August.
He said he might run two cars in some weeks for additional testing.
Gordon is now buying engines and using his own shop to rebuild and maintain them. He was leasing engines from Penske Motorsports.
“I have no beefs at all [with Penske], it’s just a fact of cash,” Gordon said. “It’s a big difference.”
Gordon has driven in only one of the last four races while he has put Scott Wimmer and Johnny Sauter in his car for races where the team has not run the full events.
By putting someone else in the car when he doesn’t have enough funding, Gordon can work on selling his Speed energy drink. The sales of the drink are funding his team. He has a partnership with Walgreens this weekend for product placement, which will allow him to race.
“My sponsorship is different than everybody else,” Gordon said. “It’s all about those relationships and partners with good retailers, and obviously brand awareness.
If I don’t have product in those marketplaces, then I don’t need to build brand awareness in those marketplaces. … I’d love to race more.”
Gordon said sales are going well and the company will soon be able to compete with other energy drinks.
“We’re selling product,” Gordon said. “We have 1,000 more stores this month than last month. … I am in GNC, the only [energy drink] in GNC [because] I’m a vitamin energy drink.”
The American way
For sure, it was worth going across the Atlantic to get a taste of American top-level racing. I really enjoyed those couple of Nascar races I had in Charlotte.
It was a brand new category of racing cars for me. It was my debut of racing on the oval, too. But, in the end of the day, the racing itself is the same where ever you do it. Obviously, it doesn’t change the mentality, if you race on oval or on a normal circuit.
It feels always as exciting as it was while I started with Go Karts.
My main goal was just to familiarize myself to the world of NASCAR racing and to have as many laps as possible to get grips with those kind of cars. Well, I think we did a good job. Working with the team felt good and we got all the laps there was to gain.
I liked the atmosphere. The fans are really having fun all the time. The Americans have their own way of getting things done. That is why NASCAR is so popular sport in the U.S. Obviously, I felt good to experience that spirit, too.
The rules are very tight. The cars are as simple as they can be. All are so similar to each other. There is no electronics. Just the man and the car. You go flat out side by side some cars. You give some, you get some bunches, but it’s fair and square. It was great fun – even for a rookie like me.
Busch: Next move up to Raikkonen
Kyle Busch says he remains open to running Kimi Raikkonen in further NASCAR Truck or Nationwide Series outings, although no more races are planned for the time being.
The NASCAR star fielded a Toyota Tundra truck from Kyle Busch Motorsports two weeks ago for Raikkonen’s stock car debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He then ran the Finn again a week later in the Nationwide Series through NEMCO Motorsports at the same track, where Raikkonen ran well until a pit speeding penalty put him two laps down.
Busch had initially spoken about running the 2007 Formula 1 world champion in as many as five Truck races, but plans quickly changed and Raikkonen made the jump immediately to NASCAR’s second tier series.
The owner/driver says the decision whether to carry on with the team is down to Raikkonen himself, but he says Kyle Busch Motorsports would be able to run him again either in the Trucks or Nationwide Series.
"If they want to come and run a few more Truck races, we’ve got the opportunity to do a couple more Nationwide races, and I’m sure myself and [NEMCO Motorsports boss] Joe Nemechek can put something together," said Busch. "It’s all up to those guys, really."
He added: "Kimi is a hard guy to read sometimes, but that is just kind of his personality. That’s alright, nothing wrong with that. I like Kimi. I liked working with him and talking with him and developing a little bit of a relationship there.
"I feel like he had a good time while here and working with us and working on the Truck and Nationwide side. As Juan [Pablo Montoya] said, it’s quite a challenging racetrack to pick as your first race track to go racing at – Charlotte is.
"If he wants to come back and run some other venues like an Atlanta or a Martinsville or a Homestead or whatever, those are definitely some options that are open and we’re open to discussions."
Raikkonen has been tipped to make his Sprint Cup Series debut at the end of the month at Sears Point, the Finn saying last week he was keen on trying out a road-course event after testing a Cup car for Robby Gordon’s team before his Nationwide debut.
KBM’s Rick Ren said his team could run Raikkonen for a Cup debut through an established team in NASCAR’s top series, but the timing for such move was tight and options very limited.
Raikkonen returns to the World Rally Championship in two weeks for the Acropolis Rally.
Da Autosprint n.22 del 31/05/2011
Second NASCAR race
Kimi Räikkönen Suffers Series of Unfortunate Events in NASCAR Nationwide Series Debut; Finishes 27th
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.”
Raikkonen 27th in Nationwide debut
Kimi Raikkonen finished 27th on his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Charlotte following a pit road penalty and damage to the front of his car, having run most of the distance on the lead lap before that.
The Finn, driving the #87 NEMCO Motorsports Toyota prepared by Kyle Busch Motorsports, enjoyed solid long runs in practice on Thursday and set some competitive lap times, feeling much more at ease ahead of the race than a week ago when he made his NASCAR debut in the Truck Series.
Having qualified 22nd despite brushing the wall on his first flying lap, Raikkonen made early progress even while not being happy with his car’s balance.
He was able to pick up a few spots on every restart, making a clear improvement from his first NASCAR experience last week, and eventually managed to race his way up to 15th in the order despite not getting the right feel from the front end of his car, struggling to turn it into the corners as he wished.
Following a green-flag pitstop for tyres and fuel on lap 139 of 200, Raikkonen was too fast leaving his stall and had to serve a drive-through penalty which left him two laps down on the leaders. Then he ran into a piece of debris from another car on the backstretch, which caused damage to the front of his Toyota, further affecting its lack of front grip.
An additional stop to remove the debris stuck under the nose of the car placed Raikkonen another lap down and from then onwards he tried to make the most of his seat time, eventually crossing the finish line 27th, four laps down on race winner Matt Kenseth.
"It was nice in the beginning and I could overtake on the restart and it felt really good when [the car] turned," said Raikkonen. "Then it really it turned out to be really bad, the handling. Just because I couldn’t even get the car in, even I felt I had to stop in the corner and it was just 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 it came back for me. Something’s not right. It’s a shame because in some points it felt quite good."
He added: "When it was really bad I hit the wall a few times, more or less everywhere. I got pushed, almost spun around. Once it got difficult it’s really [hard] because you cannot race, you just try to survive through the corner, so it’s not so much fun. But until that point it was good.
"The car was nice after the restarts and I could really go high or low and I could go fast. If the car would have stayed like that I think we could have finished very high but it’s [a case of] learning."
Raikkonen also faced heat isolation issues early in the race, complaining especially of his feet getting very hot. Most NASCAR drivers wear heat-isolating heal protectors over their racing shoes, but he said he did not wear them because he did not have any issues last week in the Truck race.
"It just burned them, the floor got really hot and then the feet got really hot, I don’t know why the car was somehow really hot inside," said Raikkonen. "It was hurting on the heels but I couldn’t really do anything so I just tried to get my feet off the floor and just hold them up."
Rick Ren, crew chief for Raikkonen in both of his NASCAR outings thus far, was pleased with how they ran and felt a top-15 finish looked attainable before the speeding penalty placed them two laps down.
"My goals for both races were to finish on the lead lap," said Ren. "That’s a realistic goal and then take what you can get and we were shooting for that today. I think he did a really good job.
He added: "I liked when we unloaded for practice [on] Thursday he was aggressive and attacked the race track while 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 because he had run [at Charlotte] the week before. But during practice he passed some cars low and high and I felt really good when we were on Thursday night that he was prepared to come and do this."
Raikkonen will return to Europe to compete in the Rally Acropolis in Greece next month and said he does not know if he will be travelling back to the US for a possible NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut next month.
Ren said if Kyle Busch Motorsports was to run Raikkonen at the road-course event at Sonoma on June 26, it would need to do so through an established Cup team, although the timing would be tight and the options very limited.
"We would have to do that with a Cup team and the Cup teams that could go do that are very, very limited," said Ren.
"The frontrunning Cup teams, we cannot get a car from those teams. We only have Nationwide cars. I have something that could maybe develop if he wanted to do that, but boy, it’s cutting it close to go to Sonoma. It’s just a few weeks away."
Cup drivers dominated Saturday’s Nationwide Series event, Kenseth beating Roush Fenway team-mate Carl Edwards, and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch.
Kimi Raikkonen is 27th in challenging Nationwide debut
By Nate Ryan, USA TODAY
CONCORD, N.C. — "The Iceman" made his debut in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and things got hot all over for Kimi Raikkonen (FSY)
The 2007 Formula One champion battled extreme heat in the cockpit that scalded his feet, a pit miscue that resulted in being handed an empty water bottle and an ill-handling Toyota that had the Finn cursing like an American sailor.
Coupled with a speeding penalty exiting the pits on a green-flag stop and the impact of a chunk of another driver’s splitter, Raikkonen’s 27th-place finish (four laps down) in his Nationwide Series debut could be regarded as inauspicious.
But considering it was his second start in a NASCAR national series and his first — ever — in a stock car on an oval, crew chief Rick Ren took another view of his driver’s performance.
"Kimi did a great job," said Ren, who had set a goal of lead-lap finishes for Raikkonen’s first two NASCAR races (he achieved it last week with a 15th in the Camping World Truck Series). "Everyone needs to understand that Charlotte is a very difficult racetrack. There are really good, famous race car drivers that have never won at Charlotte.
"For him to finish on the lead lap in the truck, qualify good in the Nationwide cars, run great in the second practice.. .. He’s got good feedback for having never driven these types of vehicles. Enough feedback to help me realize what it’s doing. I call it a success. The results don’t really show how good he really did. If you look at the finishing order, guys in 10th-12th we ran ahead of them a good lick of the day. I think it was all positive. No negatives out of it."
No one is positive, though, of Raikkonen’s next move. The enigmatic driver, who notched 18 victories and 62 podiums in F1 while racing for Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari from 2001-09 and now races in the World Rally Championship, was being typically coy after being asked if Saturday’s race would be his last in NASCAR.
"I don’t know that," said Raikkonen, who departed Charlotte immediately for a WRC event in Greece. "For now, I go back to Europe and to some rallies and see what happens."
There are no races scheduled beyond Charlotte for Raikkonen, but Kyle Busch (FSY) Motorsports would be willing to work with him again after supplying a car and truck the past two weeks.
"It’s up to him to decide if he wants to come do this again," said Ren, the general manager for KBM. "Hopefully, we did our part, and it was a pleasant experience for him."
Raikkonen, who thanked the team after the race despite filling his radio channel with vulgarities for much of 300 miles, has said he would like to race Sprint Cup and is interested in the June 26 race at Sonoma, Calif. Infineon Raceway is a road course that would suit his background in F1 (which races exclusively on road and street circuits).
But Ren cautioned that Sonoma would be another very hot race, and that KBM (which runs primarily in the truck series) wouldn’t be able to secure a Cup car from a front-running team (a Camry was obtained from NEMCO Motorsports for Saturday’s Nationwide race).
"We’d have to do (Sonoma) with a Cup team," Ren said. "The Cup teams that could go do that are very, very limited. I have something that maybe could develop if he wanted to do that, but it’s cutting it close to go to Sonoma. Engine builders plan engines six to eight weeks out, so it’d be really tough."
Raikkonen tested a car this past week on the Virginia International Raceway road course for Robby Gordon (FSY) Motorsports, which would seem an obvious choice for supplying a Toyota for Cup.
He’ll have a lot to mull after a race that didn’t go nearly as smoothly as his NASCAR debut a week earlier. Raikkonen qualified 22nd and was satisfied with the handling of his car for the first half of the 200-lap event.
But it began growing uncomfortable quickly. During the first yellow on Lap 26, Raikkonen radioed his feet were "burning" from heat emanating from the floorboards. After joking he might hang his feet out the window, he declined an offer from Ren to stop to put heat shields on his heels — though he demanded more water.
Shifting the position of his feet, though Raikkonen still radioed late in the race that "everything is just burning up, my legs and my (butt)." He seemed to be in no pain walking through the garage in street clothes about 20 minutes after the checkered flag.
"It was hurting on the heels but didn’t really do anything," he said. "Just try to keep my foot off the floor and hold them up."
He also was fighting through more discomfort. With Raikkonen demanding water on each stop to manage the heat, Ren said a jack man handed him a mostly empty bottle during a stop under a Lap 74 yellow.
But the car came to life on a Lap 78 restart, picking up three spots in five laps under green, and he was in 15th for a Lap 91 restart. He smacked the Turn 4 wall on Lap 100. As the handling on his car faded, the team held him out longer during a green-flag pit stop sequence. He sped exiting the pits and then ran over a bright orange chunk of a splitter that came off another driver’s car. He had to pit again for damage and fell three laps down, losing another later under green.
"That just took us out of the day," Ren said. "Now it damaged the front of the car, took the downforce out, and now it really won’t turn. It pretty much ended our day."
Raikkonen said he still managed to have fun until the car went away and seemed to show improvement on restarts.
"It was nice in the beginning," he said. "I could overtake on the restarts, and it felt really good when it turned. But it turned out to be really bad, the handling. It felt I had to stop in the corner, just pushing all the time. But it’s the same thing happened in the first and second practice. We could improve it in the second practice, but somehow it came back for me. Anyhow, it’s a shame because at some points, it felt quite good.
"Once it got difficult, it’s because you cannot race, and it’s just trying to survive through the corners, and it’s not so much fun. Until that point, it was good."
That might have been hard to discern from Raikkonen’s radio, which often was littered with the same vulgarities used by NASCAR champions having rough days. But Ren didn’t think the frustration necessarily impacted Raikkonen’s performance or his ability to tune on the car.
"Someone else is passing you, or you drive in corner and it won’t turn, there’s nothing more frustrating," Ren said. "It’s easy for a guy to get upset. Especially a guy who’s won grand prix events and is an F1 champion and runs rally cars and is a very experienced race car driver.
"But he’s not any different from Kyle (Busch), Carl (Edwards), Jimmie (Johnson) or Kevin Harvick (FSY) . If they have a bad day, they get upset. We listen and try to cheerlead and do the best we can with cards we’ve been dealt."
Though Raikkonen radioed repeatedly that something was "wrong" with the car, Ren said it’s just a matter of learning to adapt to a car that weighs twice as much as an F1 car and has much skinnier tires.
"The front-running guys are saying the exact same thing (about handling)," Ren said. "These things just do not handle very well. You’ll hear drivers say the tires feel like they’re basketballs. It’s just a new feel to him. I’m sure he’s never raced cars with that much air pressure in the tires. It feels abnormal, but it’s part of how these cars react."
So how will Raikkonen react after his second NASCAR start and what will it mean for his future? Like much of his racing career, it’s a mystery.
"I don’t personally know what his expectations were when he came to the United States," Ren said. "I have no idea what his real goals are. We just tried to prepare the best vehicle we could and put him in good, quality equipment and try to have a really good day.
"We had a really good day going. I still look at it as positive: 43 started, he still finished 27th. It wasn’t a disastrous day. There was no doubt he was a top 15 guy again."