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Raikkonen "got unlucky" with COTA chaos on NASCAR return

Kimi Raikkonen says he "got unlucky" on his NASCAR Cup return at Circuit of the Americas as the 2007 Formula 1 champion finished 29th after being embroiled in late-race chaos.

Kimi Raikkonen, Trackhouse Racing, Onx Homes / iLOQ Chevrolet Camaro

Rusty Jarrett / NKP / Motorsport Images

On his second Cup outing with the Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet squad, Raikkonen started 22nd in Sunday's race and ran in the midfield for most of the day.

However after a late caution brought the field back together, the Finn eyed an opportunity to gain track position. Having pitted just before the yellow flag, he stayed out and jumped up to fourth with less than ten laps to go.

But what followed could only be described as chaos, with multiple incidents and several late-race restarts. Raikkonen fought for every spot in the full-contact racing, but faded and after a spin ended up 27th at the flag as Tyler Reddick claimed victory.

A post-race 30-second penalty for short-cutting the esses on the final lap demoted him to 29th and the final lead lap car as a result, while fellow F1 champion Jenson Button finished 18th on his Cup debut in a Rick Ware Racing Ford.

Reflecting on his performance after the race, Raikkonen said: "I think it wasn’t too bad.

"We got unlucky with the incidents that happened. It was one of those things unfortunately, then there were no tyres left.

"They kept coming, getting more restarts and more restarts, so I think after the spin I had, the tyres were just done.

"It’s a shame because when we were there, but then we restart, and just wrong place, wrong time.

#91: Kimi Raikkonen, Trackhouse Racing, Onx Homes / iLOQ Chevrolet Camaro

#91: Kimi Raikkonen, Trackhouse Racing, Onx Homes / iLOQ Chevrolet Camaro

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

"It was a case of trying to stay out of the issues in the first corners and every time.

"It looked like you’d be very good, then three corners later, somebody’s going the wrong direction. There’s a bit of mess and luck involved."

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Raikkonen hasn't given much thought to what comes next, but Trackhouse team owner Justin Marks has previously said that the #91 car is his whenever Raikkonen wants it.

"I don’t know," he said when asked about any future NASCAR starts. "I mean, nobody knows.

"It’s such a shame how it went in the end, but I think we did the right thing. We were there.

"But then on the restart it’s how it was. We’ll see what the future brings. Right now, I have no clue.

"It was a long race. Our cool suit didn’t work half of the race, it stopped working. So it was quite hot in the car.

"It was fun going through the field, but it was a bit intense on the restarts."

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