THE EKSTROM EXPERIMENT The numbers may not show it, but the Ekstrom Experiment came to this conclusion: Mattias Ekstrom, a 32-year-old Red Bull-backed touring car driver from Sweden, performed admirably in his first opportunity to maneuver ...
THE EKSTROM EXPERIMENT
The numbers may not show it, but the Ekstrom Experiment came to this conclusion: Mattias Ekstrom, a 32-year-old Red Bull-backed touring car driver from Sweden, performed admirably in his first opportunity to maneuver a heavy, high-powered stock car around in circles.
In the first oval race of his career Saturday night at Richmond a short track, keep in mind Ekstrom held on to the lead lap for the first quarter of the race and finished 31st in the Air Guard 400. Teammate Scott Speed kept digging and digging to a 24th-place showing his best in four Richmond starts. Their thoughts:
Scott Speed, driver, No. 82: "It was great to see Mattias do well this weekend. We worked together well. We have similar backgrounds from racing in Europe, which helps us relate to each other. I don't think the language or his vocabulary affects his racing, but it takes a while for a NASCAR-raised crew chief to understand. He did a good job all weekend, just coming to understand what it takes to drive a completely different car on a completely different style of race track."
Mattias Ekstrom, driver, No. 83: "I have to say for the first race on an oval, I was expecting it to be long and hard, but didn't expect it to be so action packed. As soon as I started after the first restart, it was wild. That is nothing like what I have even come close to. I respect these guys even more who are doing this all the time the way you have to drive, stay focused on every single lap, hit your marks all the time and tune the car up. Tonight is something to build on. I had a great experience and great support from the team. I am really appreciative of this chance. A big thanks to Red Bull and hopefully I will be back in NASCAR again soon."
For Ekstrom, it's back to Europe and the DTM Championship, which competes Sunday at Germany's Oschersleben circuit. Reed Sorenson will drive the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota this weekend at New Hampshire.
Sylvania 300, Sunday, Sept. 19, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.