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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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.”