The first driver is ready to join Trackhouse Racing’s Project91, a part-time entry that will provide Cup Series opportunities for international stars. Former Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen will be the first to take over the entry for a road course race.
Trackhouse Racing announced the news on May 26 with a short video showing highlights from the Iceman’s career. Raikkonen, who has a record 350 Grand Prix starts in his career, will take over the No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro for the trip to Watkins Glen International on August 21. He will officially make his Cup Series debut while working alongside full-time drivers Daniel Suarez and Ross Chastain.
“Kimi Raikkonen is the driver I first had in mind when we created PROJECT91,” said team owner Justin Marks in a press release. “Kimi is a world-renowned driver with a tremendous amount of talent and fan following. We have had long discussions, and like us, he is already hard at work preparing for Watkins Glen.”
Raikkonen will have a successful crew chief sitting atop the pit box during his Cup Series debut at Watkins Glen International. He will work with Darian Grubb, who guided Tony Stewart to the 2011 Cup Series championship. Grubb also celebrated in Victory Lane 23 total times while working with Smoke, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Casey Mears.
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Raikkonen Achieved Success During His Formula 1 Career
The Iceman is no stranger to success. He competed in Formula 1 from 2001 until his retirement after the 2021 season, and he celebrated numerous times while driving for Sauber, McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus, and Alfa Romeo.
Raikkonen, who won his first race in 2003, stood on the podium 103 teams. He celebrated 21 wins over the course of his 19-year career, a list that includes the 2018 Pirelli United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas. This is the same track where new teammate Ross Chastain registered his first career Cup Series win in 2022.
The 2007 season was the best of Raikkonen’s career. He started all 17 events while driving for Ferrari, and he captured six wins. He kicked off the season with a celebration in the Australian Grand Prix. He also capped off the championship season with consecutive wins in the Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix and the Grand Prix of Brazil.
Raikkonen Has Limited NASCAR Experience
The trip to Watkins Glen International will mark the first time that Raikkonen has taken over a Cup Series car. It will not be his first foray into NASCAR. He has two previous starts across the other two national series.
Raikkonen made his NASCAR debut during the 2011 season with a two-race schedule at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He joined Kyle Busch Motorsports on May 20 for the Truck Series race, and he finished 15th overall while staying on the lead lap. He also faced off with Justin Marks during the Truck Series race.
Raikkonen returned to Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 28, 2011, for his second-ever NASCAR start. He drove the No. 87 entry for Kyle Busch during the Top Gear 300, and he finished 27th overall while facing off with such names as Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Michael Annett, and Joey Logano among others.
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