WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 20: A crew member of the Trackhouse Racing Project 91 works in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 20, 2022 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Formula 1 legend Kimi Räikkönen will return to the NASCAR Cup Series for the COTA race.
Trackhouse Racing is quickly becoming one of the best teams in the NASCAR Cup Series. Owned by Justin Marks and Pitbull, the team currently employs Ross Chastain and Daniel Suárez as its two full-time drivers in the series.
Last year, Marks announced the creation of Project91, which is a part-time entry that is designed to put international drivers behind the wheels of Cup Series cars, typically at road courses.
At the time of this announcement, only one race was planned for Project91, with Formula 1 legend Kimi Räikkönen taking over the No. 91 car at Watkins Glen. He spent the majority of the race in the top-20 and made it up to the top-10 before crashing out of the race and finishing 37th.
Prior to his Cup debut last year, Räikkönen had also made a start in the Truck Series and Xfinity Series (both in 2011 at Charlotte), finishing 27th in Trucks and 15th in Xfinity.
NASCAR: Kimi Räikkönen to make return to the Cup Series for Trackhouse Racing
Trackhouse’s plan all along has been to continue to field entries in their Project91 car. It has been announced that Räikkönen will once again take over the car, this time at Circuit of the Americas (or COTA) in Austin, Texas.
His reputation speaks for itself and it’s easy to see why Trackhouse wants such an experienced driver behind the wheel of the No. 91 car.
In Formula 1, Räikkönen won the 2007 championship while accruing 21 wins, 18 poles and 103 podiums over a career that spanned 20 seasons. The US Grand Prix on the yearly F1 schedule makes a stop at COTA, which further adds to his value in the upcoming Cup Series race.
Over the years, Räikkönen has made eight starts at COTA, winning the 2018 race and finishing third in 2017.
It remains to be seen which other driver(s) will fill in for Project91 as the year goes on, but Räikkönen is the second non-NASCAR driver to be confirmed for the upcoming COTA race after Jordan Taylor was announced as Chase Elliott’s replacement at the track.