Veteran anticipating return to his dirt roots
The 16-time winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will drive a No. 34 truck backed by Oral-B, Aggressive Hydraulics and WIX Filters. Newman is the second veteran driver from NASCAR’s premier series to commit to the Mudsummer Classic, joining another former dirt tracker, Dave Blaney.
A native of South Bend, Ind., Newman got his start racing on dirt. Next Wednesday night’s event at Eldora will be the first national series NASCAR race on dirt since a 1970 premier series event at the North Carolina Fairgrounds track in Raleigh, won by Richard Petty.
Eldora will also mark Newman’s first Truck Series start in almost two years. He has four previous starts on the circuit, the most recent at Atlanta in September of 2011, also for Turner Scott. He’s never finished outside the top five in any of those starts, the best being a victory at Atlanta with Kevin Harvick Inc. in 2008.
Turner Scott Nationwide Series crew chief Chris Carrier will call the shots for Newman. Newman tested for the team July 8 at 311 Motor Speedway, a half-mile dirt track in Pine Hall, N.C. Since only the top 20 trucks in owner’s points are guaranteed berths in the 30-vehicle starting field, Newman will have to drive his way into the main event through one of the qualifying races.
“This race is going to be something really special in NASCAR’s history,” Newman said. “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. We were able to test at 311 and I thought everything went as planned and I know Chris and the rest of the Oral-B team will have a great truck prepared for the race at Eldora.”