By Justin Schuoler, Staff Writer
AUSTIN, Texas – In his second career start in the NASCAR Cup Series, Kimi Räikkönen showed more strength and experience from his road course venture last year.
This time with Project 91 and Trackhouse Racing, he found himself on the short end of the stick with tires, late restarts and a last lap penalty that dropped him from 27th to 29th at Circuit of the Americas.
“I think it wasn’t too bad,” evaluated Räikkönen. “We got unlucky with the incidents that happened. It was one of those things, unfortunately. Then there were no tires left. They kept coming, getting more restarts and more restarts, so I think after the spin I had, the tires were just done. It’s a shame because when we were there, but then we restart, and just wrong place, wrong time. It was a case of trying to stay out of the issues in the first corners and every time. It looked like you’d be very good, then three corners later, somebody’s going the wrong direction.
“There’s a bit of mess, and luck involved.”
Many drivers needed water throughout the race and after the event. Both ringers and regular Cup drivers had failing cool suits, which played a factor against the hot and humid afternoon.
“It was a long race,” said the 2007 Formula 1 champion. “Our cool suit didn’t work half of the race, it stopped working. So it was quite hot in the car. It was fun going through the field, but it was a bit intense on the restarts.”
Justin Marks, team owner of Trackhouse, has shared that the seat is his for as long as he wants. With the news earlier this year of Jenson Button running three events, the other former Ferrari champion may have reason to give NASCAR another run. As of now, nothing is official for The Iceman.
“I don’t know. I mean, nobody knows,” he stated. “It’s such a shame how it went in the end, but I think we did the right thing. We were there. But then on the restart it’s how it was. We’ll see what the future brings. Right now, I have no clue.”
For fans and the broadcast, it seemed to be a revival of the ‘ringers’ with their race within the race.