Two Superstars Who Have Raced in Both Formula One and NASCAR
Formula One has had a tough time in the United States. American fans have struggled to rally behind the sport, which culminated with the debacle that was the 2005 US Grand Prix when just six cars took to the starting grid. Due to an issue with tires provided by French tire company Michelin – which saw one of Ralf Schumacher’s tires explode in free practice – 14 runners decide to not take part in the race due to safety concerns. Michael Schumacher went on to win that race but the apathy from the fans in attendance was abundantly clear, and that appeared to be the nail in the coffin for the world’s highest category of motorsport. But thanks to the success of the new and improved US Grand Prix – which has been held at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas since 2012 – as well as Netflix’s hit show Drive To Survive, the sport has made a miraculous recovery.
NASCAR however, still remains the top dog stateside. The sport has been a pillar of American culture since its foundation over 70 years ago and fans take advantage of free offers on NASCAR with companies such as OddsChecker, who compare odds and deals provided by online bookmakers to back their favorite teams and drivers.
There have been a number of drivers that have competed in both categories over the years, with differing levels of success. Here are two of the biggest names to have done exactly that.
Kimi Räikkönen (above)
Kimi Räikkönen is a household name the world over. He holds a plethora of records in Formula One, such as most race starts and longest distance raced, which was recently broken by Fernando Alonso. He has won a total of 21 Grand Prix and holds the record for the longest period of time between victories (113 races, between the 2013 Australian Grand Prix and the 2018 United States Grand Prix) and longest period of time between first and last wins (5,691 days between 2018 United States Grand Prix after his 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix). And who can forget when he won the 2007 World Championship for Ferrari in dramatic circumstances, winning the final two races after calamity struck championship leader Lewis Hamilton.
During his three-year hiatus from F1, he tried his hand in NASCAR, racing for Kyle Busch Motorsports, impressing with a 15th place finish on his debut at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. In May he announced he would be returning to the sport under the banner of Trackhouse Racing Team, racing in the NASCAR Cup Series, and it will be fascinating to see how the Iceman fairs.
Juan Pablo Montoya
Whereas Kimi Räikkönen enjoyed the majority of his success in Formula One, Juan Pablo Montoya shone brightest in NASCAR. Following his abrupt departure from McLaren in 2006, the Colombian went on to race over 250 times in the famed stock car championship during a career which span over nine years. He managed to secure victory on two separate occasions, firstly in just his seventh career Nationwide Series race, in Mexico City. He would then win again in 2010 at Watkins Glen. During his impressive career, he managed to secure 59 top-ten finishes, 24 of which he finished in the top 5.
He also enjoyed success in Formula One, winning four times for Williams back when Michael Schumacher was at the peak of his powers. The pair shared an incredible rivalry for a number of years, with the Colombian being one of the few drivers who would not back down from his more illustrious opponent, with the pair colliding on numerous occasions.
Montoya and Räikkönen would go on to become teammates in 2005 & 2006 at McLaren-Mercedes. He would win a further three races under the tutelage of team principal Ron Dennis, but a very public falling out during that second campaign led to Montoya signing a deal with NASCAR and never truly fulfilling his potential in Formula One.