Two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom expects to return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup series soon after making his oval debut at Richmond last weekend with Red Bull Racing Team.
The Swede had a respectable run on Saturday night at the 0.75-mile Richmond International Raceway, finishing 31st but running close to a top-20 position in the first half of the race, eventually crossing the finish line ahead of series' regulars Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
While others trying the transition from different series into NASCAR have taken a more gradual approach in the past, the Red Bull driver ventured into racing on a short oval track at Cup level for his second stock car outing, but still managed to have a trouble-free run.
The 32-year-old said his experience last Saturday went beyond what he anticipated and made him earn more respect for the series. Although he has returned to Europe to drive again for Audi in the DTM, Ekstrom expects to be back in the Sprint Cup soon.
"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," Ekstrom said. "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. [Saturday's race] 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."
Reed Sorenson will return behind the wheel of the #83 Red Bull Toyota next weekend at Loudon, but with only four races left in the DTM schedule, which finishes in late November at Shanghai, Ekstrom is expected to drive again for the team this season.