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

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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.

Daniel Ricciardo to decide soon about moving from Red Bull to another F1 team

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LE CASTELLET, France (AP) Daniel Ricciardo says over the next six weeks he wants to decide between staying at Red Bull or joining another Formula One team for next year.

Ricciardo said on Thursday at the French Grand Prix, “It would be nice to go on the summer break knowing what I am doing.”

F1 is working its way toward its three-week break in August with speculation mounting that Mercedes, Ferrari, and McLaren are interested in luring Ricciardo away from Red Bull for 2019.

“I will be honest, everyone is talking about Mercedes and Ferrari as potential places for me to go, and I am aware that there will be interest from other teams,” he said.

The Australian driver has won seven races in his four-plus seasons with Red Bull. He is fourth in the standings behind leader Sebastian Vettel heading into the race at the Paul Ricard Circuit near Marseille.

Ricciardo’s stock has risen in recent months after his victories in Shanghai and Monaco. His Monaco win was particularly impressive because Ricciardo had to deploy some masterful defensive driving to protect his lead after losing an estimated 25 percent of his engine power.

Ricciardo said he had not directly spoken to rivals Ferrari and Mercedes, but he hedged when asked if his manager had.

“People talk, have coffees, I will leave that one open-ended,” he said with a laugh.

Ricciardo called the decision on whether to go or stay with Red Bull the biggest choice of his career following his decision to leave his native Australia and continue his racing career in Europe over a decade ago.

“For sure the priority is to get a car to win the world title because I really believe I can,” he said. “I am slightly careful because it is easy to think the grass is greener and maybe it is, but I also have it pretty good where I am.

“People do like a change but just to make change for the sake of making a change is not enough for me. I need to find some substance behind it to jump ship.”

Red Bull announced recently it would be ending its 12-year partnership with engine-maker Renault and switching to Honda motors for next year.

Ricciardo was hesitant to endorse or criticize the change, saying he was going to “try to keep putting the pieces together if it is a good move.”

But with the question of the engine manufacturer out of the way, Ricciardo said Red Bull would likely be looking to resolve its drivers’ lineup for next year.

“I haven’t been pushed yet, but I would say that there will be some movement in the next week,” he said. “Whether that is something that gets put down on paper (or not), for sure the discussions will start to ramp up in the next few days.”