“I don’t think that’s a possibility,” Denny Hamlin doesn’t consider Kimi Raikkonen as “a contender to race for the win,” at Watkins Glen

“I don’t think that’s a possibility,” Denny Hamlin doesn’t consider Kimi Raikkonen as “a contender to race for the win,” at Watkins Glen

Kimi Raikkonen and Denny Hamlin

NASCAR Cup Series teams will hit Watkins Glen International, arguably one of the best road courses the series has to offer,  for the penultimate race of the 2022 regular season. One of the major headlines going into the race is the cup series debut of former F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen coming out of his retirement to make his cup series debut.

Nicknamed the “Iceman,” the former Ferrari driver is one of the most successful and fan-followed drivers in the Formula one racing scene and is the right fit for Justin Marks and Pitbull on their first ride of PROJECT91. The plan was put forth by the Trackhouse team to expand NASCAR’s market beyond the stars and increase its brand value.

Though the debut of Kimi Raikkonen is making head waves at the track with multiple individuals coming out proclaiming him as a contender for the race win. But Joe Gibbs Racing veteran and arguably the best Toyota driver of the 2022 season Denny Hamlin doesn’t seem to agree with the opinion as he came out expressing his thoughts on the Ex-F1 driver’s chances at the track on Sunday.

Also read: “The decision was not an easy one, but the right one,” Kurt Busch to skip the remaining regular season races as he set to make a return in the playoff’s

Find out what Denny Hamlin said

denny hamlin
Denny Hamlin

Denny Hamlin acknowledged that it is a great opportunity provided to Kimi Raikkonen and Stackhouse Racing but he isn’t a contender for race wins. He points out that it isn’t a possibility because getting oneself set to contend for wins in the cup series is a time-consuming process and added that drivers who made the switch from open wheel to stock car arcing in the past had taken time to get adjusted with NASCAR.

It’s a great opportunity for him and Trackhouse and whatnot, but as far as being a contender to race for the win, I don’t think that’s a possibility. Just simply because it does take time. Looking at the people who have been successful in stock cars coming from open-wheel backgrounds, it takes a long time,” Denny Hamlin said.

Denny Hamlin went on to add that other than the anomalies such as Tony Stewart and a few, it takes time for drivers to make that switch as he pointed towards Juan Pablo Montoya, among the few drivers to be Successful in both open wheel and stock car racing, also took time to perform well. He pointed out that with the modern-day technologies and data available in the cup series, the switch has become much more complicated as the regular drivers have stepped up their game a lot.

Other than you got these anomalies like Tony Stewart and a few others. Montoya took a little bit of time. But it’s just really difficult because everyone has gotten so much better, especially with the information, the data, they’ve got nowadays. All the drivers that are in the field now have really stepped up dramatically,” Denny Hamlin added.

He added that Kimi’s entry to the cup race would surely help the publicity of NASCAR, but it won’t change the dynamic of the race day saying, “I think it’s a good thing for our sport if it gets some good publicity, but other than that, I’m not really sure it changes the dynamic of the race too much,”.

Will Kimi Raikkonen prove Denny Hamlin wrong at Watkins Glen?

Also read: “In my mind, I am already in the playoffs,” Daniel Suarez is all set to secure yet another road course win at Watkins Glen

Also read: “Kyle Busch isn’t driving the 18. It’s not happening,” Corey LaJoie predicts Ty Gibbs to take over Kyle Busch’s JGR ride