Sprint Cup veteran Ryan Newman will compete for Turner Scott Motorsports in Wednesday night’s “Mudsummer Classic” for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Eldora Speedway. For the first NASCAR national series race on dirt in over four decades, Newman will drive the No. 34 Chevrolet Silverado with backing from Oral-B, Wix Filters and Aggressive Hydraulics.
“This race is going to be something really special in NASCAR’s history,” Newman said in a team statement. “I’ve always enjoyed racing in the Truck Series and to be able to get back and race on dirt with a truck, I think everyone will be in for a special treat.”
Newman, who last competed in the Trucks in a 2011 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, prepared for the Eldora race with a test on July 8 at the 311 Speedway in Pine Hill, North Carolina. He only has four career starts in the NCWTS, but with one victory (Atlanta 2008, with Kevin Harvick Inc.) and four Top-5 finishes, he has a strong record in the category.
However, his place in the “Mudsummer Classic” isn’t assured. Since only the Top 20 entrants in NCWTS owner’s points are guaranteed starting spots at Eldora, the Indiana native will have to race his way into the show through the qualifying races.
Newman becomes the second Sprint Cup pilot to enter the Eldora event, joining Dave Blaney, who will strap into the No. 19 Ford F-150 for reigning Cup champion Brad Keselowski’s squad. Blaney has had great success in the past at Eldora, including victories there in the famous “Historical Big One” and “Kings Royal” sprint car events in 1995.
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”