USAC star Hines to race in NASCAR Trucks’ dirt debut

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The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ highly anticipated dirt-track race this summer at Ohio’s famous Eldora Speedway now features one of the best dirt racers in the sport.

Tracy Hines, a two-time USAC champion and winner of 85 dirt events across all three of USAC’s major divisions, will return to Truck racing for the special event in a Toyota Tundra fielded by ThorSport Racing. Hines competed in the NCWTS from 2003 to 2005, collecting two Top 5 and three Top 10 finishes over 52 starts (48 of which came with the ThorSport team).

“The realization that a major NASCAR series is going back to dirt is super exciting,” Hines said in a statement. “What is it going to be? I don’t think anybody knows, until we run under that checkered flag, what we’re actually going to see. So that’s definitely huge.”

Hines is also a master of Eldora’s half-mile track, winning there 12 times in his USAC career. One more victory at the Tony Stewart-owned facility would put him in a tie on its all-time wins list with Jack Miller.

With all of his knowledge of Eldora and dirt racing in general, ThorSport is banking on Hines to be a threat for the win come July 24.

“We’re excited to have a driver with Tracy’s ability in one of our trucks for a truly unique event that we feel will really highlight what he’s done at that venue as well as what he can do in the series’ first dirt race,” said team general manager David Pepper.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”