Red Bull Racing Team names Ekstrom for Sonoma

EKSTROM PASSES TEST, EARNS 83 SEAT FOR SONOMA Two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom with the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota and his Red Bull Audi A4 DTM at Germany's EuroSpeedway Lausitz. MOORESVILLE, N.C. - It took Mattias Ekstrom mere minutes to...

EKSTROM PASSES TEST, EARNS 83 SEAT FOR SONOMA

Two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom with the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota and his Red Bull Audi A4 DTM at Germany's EuroSpeedway Lausitz.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. - It took Mattias Ekstrom mere minutes to prove he could handle a stock car. The No. 83 Red Bull Toyota's weight and horsepower quickly became non-issues after Ekstrom logged a few laps in a support role during testing at Virginia International Raceway.

"We were worried about getting him up to speed in a day," said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team's vice president and general manager. "He was up to speed in an hour - less than an hour. He's a phenomenal talent."

For that, Ekstrom's dream of driving in America's premier form of motorsports has come true. With the blessing of Audi, Red Bull Racing Team announced Tuesday that the Red Bull driver and two-time DTM champion will pilot the No. 83 in the June 18-20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Infineon Raceway. He'll take over the seat from Casey Mears, who has been filling in for Brian Vickers while Vickers recovers from blood clots.

"First of all, I'd like to express my sincere thanks - to Red Bull for inviting a Swede with zero NASCAR experience to compete in the United States and to Audi for the possibility and approval that enable me to fulfill this dream," said Ekstrom, 31, whose first name is pronounced Mat-tee-us.

"It's always nice to try something new. At the test I felt really at home. So now going to a race will be very nice. The biggest difficulty will be to race with 42 other cars. Here (in DTM), we have 18. I'm sure it will be interesting and I'm really looking forward to the experience

Ekstrom, a Red Bull-backed driver for the past nine years, claimed his first victory of 2010 in the second round of the DTM Championship on May 23 in Valencia, Spain. The Audi factory driver currently sits fourth in the DTM standings and has 14 career victories.

In addition to his success in the Germany-based touring car series - only twice in nine seasons has he finished outside the top five - Ekstrom has proven his versatility and class in other motorsports disciplines. He's an active rally racer and three times has won the individual title at the Ra Champions. ce of

Ekstrom will begin his maiden NASCAR weekend with practice and qualifying June 18, with the 110-lap, 218.9-mile race coming June 20 around the 12- turn, 1.99-mile road course in Napa Valley.

-source: rbrt

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Casey Mears , Mattias Ekström , Brian Vickers
Teams Red Bull Racing