Last week, I read a fellow blogger, Mad Mikie, and in his blog, he stated that Formula 1 star Kimi Raikkonen was the replacement for Kasey Kahne at Red Bull Racing once Kahne heads to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. Below is his projection.
“Next season, when Kasey Kahne switches over to the #5 Hendrick car, Red Bull will be replacing him with Kimi Raikkonen. Kimi is coming to NASCAR isn’t an April Fool’s joke. My sources say he’ll be replacing Kasey Kahne next year in the #4 car. I had originally heard about this last year but didn’t put much stock in it then. But now I’m hearing it from more than one source.”
He seems pretty confident in his sources. Who am I to doubt him? If this is true, Raikkonen really needs to examine his goals when it comes to his entrance into NASCAR’s top level. If you have read any of my articles in the past, you are aware that I am not a Red Bull fan after the A.J. Allmendinger hiring, firing, and then the whole Scott Speed fiasco. They bring these top tier open wheel drivers, who are talented and marketable, and expect them to immediately make an impact in Sprint Cup competition. When they are performing at the mediocrity that everyone else expected, they dump them.
In Allmendinger’s case, he was blossoming as a stock car driver. He was becoming relevant. Speed was winning races in ARCA, and was a Red Bull athlete for years, so they cut ties with Allmendinger to make room for the next open wheel-to-stock car prospect. Two and a half years later, there is a lawsuit involved. Speed received the dreaded “pink slip” via fax after two years of struggles. Go figure, who expected Speed to materialize as the next Tony Stewart other than Team Red Bull? They waited until after the season to cut the chord. It is not that I am a huge Scott Speed supporter, I felt that he needed more developmental time in lower series, but because Red Bull was so determined to place him in Sprint Cup, willing to throw Allmendinger to the ‘Free Agent Wolves’, they should have stuck with him for more than two years.
Kasey Kahne is producing with Red Bull, and who expected otherwise. Kahne is a talented stock car driver with an abundance of experience in Cup, as is Brian Vickers. They are going to produce as long as they are equipped with solid equipment. Raikkonen, on the other hand, has zero experience in this sport, and will likely suffer similar fate as Allmendinger and Speed.
Fortunately, for Allmendinger, he landed a ride with Richard Petty Motorsports. Well, for about a year and a half, he was in limbo, but now he is the flagship driver of the famed No. 43 Ford. He has an owner that believes in him and will commit to him.
Kyle Busch will allow Raikkonen to test his talents in the Camping World Truck Series. The F-1 star should enjoy some solid results. Hopefully, he addresses his NASCAR career like Danica Patrick and takes a cautious and analytical path to the top. If not, he will end up in the same canoe as Scott Speed, Sam Hornish Jr, Dario Franchitti, and Jacques Villeneuve. In all fairness to Villeneuve, he never had a chance will Bill Davis Racing.
Raikkonen, please steer clear of Red Bull and Foster Gillette.