Parts of the NASCAR world are abuzz over news a former Formula 1 World Champion will try to make a move to NASCAR later this year. Former Juan Montoya teammate Kimi Raikkonen intends to hop in a truck and go roundy-rounding.
The more obnoxious of the fendered brigade are using phrases such as ‘moving up’ and other such ignorance. A question many ask is why non-oval centric drivers used to the highest tech in the sport would choose to move to NASCAR. The answer is probably simple:
-Slower speeds and less perceived danger.
Let’s face it. The recent crop of Formula 1 drivers have not faired that well in Indy Cars. Robert Doornbos has already washed out and Takuma Sato has taken a season to figure out how not to crash and bring a car home in one piece. There are simply no more Nigel Mansells or Emerson Fittipaldis who are willing to put fear aside and race in the most diverse series in the world.
Their track records in NASCAR are not promising, either. Jacques Villeneuve tried and failed, and many other open wheel crossovers who have not serves any sort of apprenticeship are sidelined as well (hello, Sam Hornish).
My thought is that they all should try after they retire from Formula 1. The less seats that are available in NASCAR means more potentially talented Americans will be looking for seats. Once we get Indy Car owners all the way beyond their Euro or South American centricity, perhaps the next generation of Jeff Gordons will not find open wheel doors slammed in their faces.