David Gilliland detours on the way to Las Vegas — through the Grand Canyon

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When David Gilliland said he was going to go out for a walk on his way to this weekend’s Sprint Cup race in Las Vegas, he wasn’t kidding.

The driver of Front Row Motorsports’ No. 38 Ford on Wednesday completed a two-day hike covering more than 20 miles of trails through the Grand Canyon.

According to a team press release, Gilliland carried over 40 pounds of gear and slept in a sleeping bag and tent on the canyon floor Tuesday night.

“Even though I grew up out west, I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon and I’ve always wanted to,” said Gilliland, a Southern California native. “This way I’ll be able to see it all at once.”

In other words, Gilliland is essentially compressing a multi-day trip into a day-and-a-half.

“It’s going to be hard,” he said. “I’ve done three smaller hikes before but nothing like this. I’m going to have a yellow (rookie) stripe on my backpack for sure.” said Gilliland. “We’re going down the hardest trail, too. It’s about eight and a half miles in, and then we have a 13-and-a-half-mile hike out.”

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Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.