News & Media

Raikkonen could race Nationwide at Charlotte

May 21, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

CONCORD, N.C. -- Kyle Busch fessed up.

His comments earlier Friday weren't the whole truth, when he said he wouldn't field a Nationwide car for Kimi Raikkonen next week.

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Busch has been working on a deal that will put Raikkonen in a Toyota for the May 28 Nationwide race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In fact, the car is already at the Kyle Busch Motorsports shop.

"I don't own it," Busch said with a sly smile after winning Friday night's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 Camping World Truck Series race at Charlotte.

Who does own it, Busch wouldn't reveal, after admitting the car was a Toyota.

"You'll find out next week," he said.

In his first news conference with NASCAR reporters, Raikkonen mentioned that he expected to drive in the Nationwide race at Charlotte. When asked about it, Busch was circumspect.

"We don't have a Nationwide Series license [at Kyle Busch Motorsports], and our crew guys aren't licensed for the Nationwide Series or anything," Busch said. "It would have to be with somebody else."

Clever, but the not whole story, as it turned out. Accordingly, you can expect to see Raikkonen behind the wheel of a Toyota on May 28 -- in a car to be named later.

When asked if he was running the Nationwide race, Raikkonen said, "We'll see," after finishing 15th in Friday night's Truck Series race at Charlotte -- his NASCAR debut.

So how did Raikkonen wind up driving in a Truck race at Charlotte? He has his agent call and ask -- and not take no for an answer.

Raikkonen's agent called Rick Ren, general manager of Kyle Busch Motorsports. The agent at first wouldn't even reveal Raikkonen's name.

Busch recounted how the deal went down:

"We told them the cost of what it took to run them and they said, 'OK, talk to you later.' They worked it out on their side I guess where they felt like that was an OK price to pay, called us back and said, 'OK, we're going to do this, we want to do Charlotte.' We said, 'Oh, Charlotte's already taken, can you pick another one?' They were like, 'No, can't pick another one, you have to run a second truck.' So we were like, 'We don't have a second truck.' So we talked to Vision [Aviation], and asked if we could supply them a truck, and they could run the race for us."