Kimi Raikkonen baru akan mengikuti seri pertamanya di NASCAR pada tanggal 20 Mei nanti, meski begitu sebagai bagian dari persiapannya The Iceman telah mengikuti tes selama dua hari di Gresham Motorsports pada tanggal 4-5 April lalu dan satu hari tes di Rockingham Speedway pada tanggal 7 April. Keputusan Kimi untuk mencoba berlomba di NASCAR menuai berbagai respon, baik dari kalangan NASCAR sendiri maupun dari eks rival-rivalnya di Formula One. Berikut respon mereka:
Jeff Gordon yang sekarang membalap di Sprint Cup Series berkomentar:
I can't believe it. I think it says a lot about NASCARthat somebody like him is coming here. I admire him for wanting to take the step and go truck racing and not just jump in a Cup car. I think, obviously, the word is out there to the best drivers in the world that if you think you are just going to come in here and jump in a Cup car and be competitive, you are kidding yourself.
The last thing he needs to do is think he's going to get one of these cars to feel like an F1 car, because they never will. I would just tell him to be patient and to try to stay in the best equipment he can, and try to go out there and follow the guys who are going fast to learn the lines and the braking-points at each of the tracks he goes to. That would be the quickest way to learn and adapt and become competitive.
It would be a really cool and exiting thing. I'm a F1-fan and have followed Kimi racing and winning there. It would be really awesome to get him to race in NASCAR.
Nelson Piquet yang juga pernah membalap di Formula One dan telah merasakan membalap di truck series berujar:
I think it's great for the serie to hear that Kimi decided to join and compete with trucks. I'm sure it will be great for him to see what American racing really is about.
Juan Pablo Montoya yang pernah menjadi rekan Kimi selama membalap di Formula One di tim Mclaren yang kini juga pebalap NASCAR berkomentar:
Well, people talk a lot and I've heard the story already before, but if he's definitely coming it would be really good for him and for the sport.
The only thing that I heard is that he was being approved for Charlotte. I don’t know if he’s even confirmed he’s doing it. I think it would be cool if he comes here. He’s a cool guy and I think he would fit right in.
Jacques Villeneuve, juara dunia F1 tahun 1997 dan sekarang pebalap NASCAR mengatakan:
I think the driving won't be a problem for him. His biggest challenge will be off the race track. He'll need to open up socially. NASCAR is not a closed environment like F1 is. You need to respect the other drivers and socialise.
Kyle Busch yang melakukan tes bersama Kimi berkomentar seperti berikut:
I think it’s cool. I think that some of these guys from the Formula 1, or from the open wheel background I should say, trying to take a step in NASCAR and see how it is pretty neat. It kind of gives a world presence to NASCAR
Dari FORMULA ONE:
Bob Varsha berkomentar:
He would be among my top picks. He is a very talented guy and if anybody could do it, if he really puts his mind to it and gives it everything he’s got, he would be one of my first choices to make it.
Pebalap Torro Rosso, Sebastien Buemi mengatakan:
I don't understand since I heard Kimi would focus on rally and then he goes and changes into a completely different thing. Has Kimi changed his mind? The most important thing is that Kimi enjoys whatever he is doing. I'm sure he will learn driving Nascar faster than he learned driving rally.
If Kimi is happy driving NASCAR, then I'm also happy and wish him luck in that world. I wouldn't try it myself for 100% because I know I wouldn't enjoy it at all. If Raikkonen was content, he would wish him all the best.
It does not come to question for me. I don’t think I would enjoy. But if Kimi enjoys it and the races are exciting, it is certainly a great story. So why not?
Felipe Massa, mantan rekan setimnya di Ferrari berkata:
Hopefully Kimi gets to really enjoy himself. I am sure that once he has the needed experience, then he will be competitive there too. Kimi has progressed in rally all the time and he is already looking for a new challenge. We all know how talented Kimi is as a driver. He is fast on nearly any vehicle.
Kimi is however so talented that he can achieve his goal no matter where he drives.
Kimi has certainly a great talent, but there he first has to learn. If he manages to do that, he may succeed in this series. First of all, he will start in a lower class if I have been informed correctly. We'll see. Apart from that of course I wish him all the best.
I have been in Homestead once to watch one NASCAR-race. It was a really popular sport and there was a great atmosphere. I know that it is a completely different world than F1 or WRC. Kimi is a F1-champion and he has also progressed in his rally career. If he gets a chance like that, team and car, then why not go and try out NASCAR also. Kimi loves challenges and has tried out many things. He is fast whether he drives a snow mobile, motocross bike or anything else. If you give Kimi a tractor then he will be fast with that too. I'm sure he will do okay as long as he gets a decent car. Kimi's strenght is that he adopts to everything so quickly. Even though the setups in his F1-car weren't always in place, he still took out everything out of the car.
Pedro de la Rosa (test driver Pirelli):
I have never talked with Kimi about NASCAR so it is a quite surprising move from him. I thought Kimi had committed fully to rally. On the other hands it's sad that he doesn't drive the full WRC-season because it looks like he becomes more and more competitive all the time. However Kimi is one of the greatest natural talents that I have ever met. He will learn any car he wants as long as he gets a bit experience under his belt. I'm sure Kimi enjoys the atmosphere there and he fits nicely in the picture. I wouldn't be surprised if he would become competitive there quite quickly.
I'm not a fan of those cars so his NASCAR-trial doesn't interest me at all.
Kimi has always been some kind of a mythic figure for me. I envy really much his courage to go and make a decision like that and go racing there. I believe strongly that Kimi will make it there also because his driving style suits those cars. Nascar is a splendid thing, the atmoshpere is brilliant and it would be totally awesome to drive those cars in Miami. Hopefully Kimi does well and awakens interest for them to hire more F1-drivers
It was quite a big surprise to hear that Kimi is going to race in Nascar on top of rally but that way he gets to continuously experience strong emotions that other F1-drivers can only dream of.
It will not be easy for him. It is very difficult there. He's clearly a talented driver and he is doing it right. He has looked for a good team and is testing a lot. He has now tested on the Rockingham Speedway, but Charlotte will then open his eyes. It's scary when you chase at full speed through the corners. If you drive all the time over 300 km/h, it is really hard work. But he will be quick there.
Kimi seemed to be happy to leave Formula 1. Maybe he wanted to have it more relaxed. He will find that in the states for sure. For drivers who are accustomed to slicks and wings, it is always difficult to drive all of a sudden in the NASCAR oval." Button also doesn’t show any prejudice, "These guys do that all their lives and they are no nose pickers.The change was difficult for many. Juan Pablo has taken a little while, but now he is competitive. I'm sure with Kimi it will be the same. He will prove his talent.
Kimi pastinya akan mengumpulkan lebih banyak fans. Sejak di Formula One hingga hijrah ke WRC, Kimi telah membawa penggemarnya ikut hijrah mengamati perkembangan kariernya di rally. Hal ini pastinya juga akan berlanjut dengan keikutsertaannya di NASCAR. Bukan tak mungkin ia akan mengumpulkan penggemar baru di NASCAR.