Ryan Newman to compete in NASCAR Trucks’ “Mudsummer Classic”

Leave a comment

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.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

Getty Images
1 Comment

There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.