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NASCAR NEWS 

Ekstrom to test for Red Bull team

Mattias Ekstrom Two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom will test for Red Bull Racing Team at the Virginia International Raceway road course today.

Fresh from his first DTM win of the season, which he claimed at Valencia last weekend, the Swede is set to provide support to the team ahead of the first road course event of the year, which takes place next month at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.

The 31-year-old, who has been backed by Red Bull for the past nine years, will make his maiden NASCAR outing in the #83 car, which was usually driven by Brian Vickers, now sidelined for the rest of the season due to treatment he is currently undergoing to dissolve blood clots discovered on him.

"It's no secret that the NASCAR series fascinates me," said Ekstrom, who will test alongside the team's regular driver Scott Speed. "It's been a long-harboured dream of mine to drive such a car."

Casey Mears has been drafted in place of Vickers for the past few weeks, but speaking at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend, the team's vice president and general manager Jay Frye said it has still to be determined whether he would fill in for the remainder of the year.

Ekstrom's DTM schedule would not hamper the Swede from eventually racing for the team at Sonoma on June 20th. Due to Vickers stepping out, the team's focus has now shifted from the drivers' standing to the car owners' ranking, which is not affected by different drivers racing the #83 entry.

For now, Frye expects Ekstrom's tin-top experience to help prepare the team for next month's road course event.

"With Brian Vickers sidelined for the rest of the season, we needed a road-racing expert to help prepare the #83 for Sonoma," said Frye. "We appreciate Mattias' willingness to help out and we look forward to his insight."

Ekstrom, who has competed in the World Rally Championship also, has won the Race of Champions three times and he currently ranks second in the DTM standings.

Recently, sportscar racer Jan Magnussen also tested for Hendrick Motorsports to help the team with its road course development programme.

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