The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be returning to the dirt of Eldora Speedway this Wednesday night for the “Mudsummer Classic.” For these asphalt cowboys, racing on dirt presents a different set of challenges – and thus requires a different way to prepare.
Earlier this month, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace and his Kyle Busch Motorsports team headed to the Southwest Virginia town of Rural Retreat for a test at Wythe Raceway, a 1/2-mile, high-banked clay oval.
According to Wallace himself, he ran 141 laps in the test. Today, a six-minute clip of the session – shot from the driver’s point of view inside his No. 54 KBM Toyota Tundra – was posted online; you can check it out at the top.
“Last year, Eldora and [the road-course race in] Canada were two of my favorite races because they were so different than what we normally do,” Wallace said this week.
“We tested a few weeks ago in Virginia and we ran a lot of laps trying things out and just trying to get comfortable being on dirt.
“We were happy with the test and I’m excited, my team is pumped and I know we have a Toyota Tundra that will be able to compete for another Top-10 finish.”
In last year’s inaugural “Mudsummer Classic,” Wallace climbed from 17th on the grid to finish seventh.
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”