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Mattias Ekström Confirmed for Road-Course Race in Sonoma
Two-time Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) champion Mattias Ekström will take over the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, June 18-20 (Father’s Day weekend), team officials announced today.

Ekström will 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 Ekström, 31.

Ekström will become the first Swede to start a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.  Niclas Jonsson, who competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Montreal in 2007, was the first Swede to start a NASCAR national series race.

Ekström claimed his first victory of 2010 in the second round of the DTM Championship 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 German  touring car series — only twice in nine seasons has he finished outside the top five — Ekström has proven his versatility in other motor-sports disciplines. He’s an active rally racer and three times has won the individual title at the Race of Champions.

Ekström will begin his NASCAR weekend at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 with practice and qualifying on Friday, June 18.  He’ll take the green flag for the 110-lap main event on Sunday, June 20, at noon (PT).

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