- Associated Press - Friday, April 1, 2011

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (AP) - Juan Pablo Montoya said Friday he’s heard the rumors that former Formula One teammate Kimi Raikkonen is headed to NASCAR.

Raikkonen is reportedly planning to enter a Truck Series race at Charlotte next month. If he does try NASCAR, he’d follow Montoya, Scott Speed and Nelson Piquet Jr. as the most recent former F1 drivers to move to America’s most popular motorsports series.

“The only thing that I heard is that he was being approved for Charlotte. I don’t know if he’s even confirmed he’s doing it,” Montoya said. “I think it would be cool if he comes here. He’s a cool guy and I think he would fit right in.”

But Montoya questioned the selection of Charlotte for a debut race.

“My first choice wouldn’t be Charlotte, to start my first race,” said Montoya, who drove his first stock car in an ARCA race at Talladega.

Speed also made his debut in an ARCA race at Talladega, while Piquet raced the ARCA event at Daytona. Both tracks are superspeedways, where handling is less important than at Charlotte.

Raikkonen and Montoya were teammates at McLaren. An F1 world champion, Raikkonen now competes in World Rally Championship. The Trucks race at Charlotte on May 20 falls between the rally races at Sardinia and Argentina.

Montoya said he was not surprised to learn the Finn was considering NASCAR because it’s more popular outside the U.S. than many realize.

“I think maybe if you would get the numbers of how many people internationally are watching these races … in Europe and Asia, I think you would shock yourself,” Montoya said. “People in Formula One are very selfish. They think there is nothing better out there. But the actual racing, this is exciting.

“It’s exciting to watch, it’s exciting to be here.”