Formula 1 champions Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen threw a party at Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at the Circuit of the Americas, while Haas team principal Guenther Steiner also appeared in a record race in Texas.
The button that will force this year’s 24 Hours of Maine in a modified NASCAR engine to tackle the race, made its Cup Series debut at the venue of the United States Grand Prix over the weekend. 2009 F1 spurred 24 out of 39 cars to qualify and finished 18th in the marathon race that stretched 75 laps beyond 68 hours due to a series of late incidents.
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“You turn 1 and in the middle of everything,” said Fox Sports after the race. “People who are later than me are tripping and hitting the car and using it to slow them down! that happened to me. It’s ‘just’ I have to say, ‘generally won’, I would say 60%; 40% of it felt kind of tasteless, the amount of beating we were getting at each other.
“I wanted turn 1… and they hit me. Fortunately it didn’t rip me off and I took a big hit at the start. The revenge is nice, but there are points where it feels like we could have done better. I have to say that the action is amazing, it didn’t disappoint me, I have to give these guys a shot. The first 10 laps, he just destroyed me… every day I was in a corner someone passed me,” he said.
The 2009 Formula 1 champion added that he was suffering from heat exhaustion and that his car had also taken a hit from former F1 rival Raikkonen at one point in the race.
“I took the time to learn some racing skills, and I didn’t run for three years, and I never hit a car, I hit it hard, and after the first step when I changed the tires, I was like, “The guys put me in the air, I need a few laps of my own,” and they did, the very they did a good job at the pit stop and I was able to run clear. I really enjoyed it and I had a good pace.
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“And then the next time I took a hit from Kimi [Raikkonen] and so flooded, as I was supported, and also had the fatigue of the heat. I was like ‘guys stop me’, it was so bad.
Button will make his NASCAR stop with the Chicago road race in July and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August after competing in Maine.
As Raikkonen’s 2007 F1 champion, he almost made the top five late in the race but crashed and later dropped to 29th due to penalty limits.
“Yeah, I don’t think it’s too bad, I mean the car in most cases” [time] Very good. We were unlucky with some incidents and we took a few times from there, but it’s one of them,” Raikkonen said after completing the podium.
“In the end, he just had no crowns and left” [wearing] after several reboots and reboots. And when I had the thread, they were very fresh, but it is a shame.
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The Finn has not said if he wants to compete with more NASCAR teams this season.
“I don’t know, no one knows, but it’s a shame how it came to an end, but I think it’s right that we were there … we’ll see what will happen, but now I have no idea,” he concluded.