European Drivers in NASCAR
Ekstrom is a touring car veteran who is originally from Falun, Sweden. He is taking the place of Brian Vickers for the rest of the season due to Vickers having medical issues. He made his debut in the no. 83 car at Infineon Raceway after taking the place of Casey Mears that was driving the no.83 car previously but was let go due to failing performance standards. As of right now, Ekstrom is only going to be able to participate in just the Infineon race due to his schedule with the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Series. He is a two-time DTM Champion and three-time winner of the Race of Champions so NASCAR definitely would have a seasoned athlete on their hands.
Magnussen, on the other hand, is a legend in the U.S. due to his legacy in sports car as a GM factory Corvette pilot. He will be racing at Infineon as well.
Many of the NASCAR drivers, including Carl Edwards, Jimmy Johnson, and Boris Said, know these two drivers personally so they know what kind of drivers they are and if they are capable of competing amongst the other drivers in NASCAR and being able to move throughout the field. They all have no doubts about these two drivers not be capable of moving up through the field since they both have plenty of experience on road courses.
With Ekstrom and Magnussen, they both have very stable careers and would like to convert over to NASCAR, but there is a downside to that which is making their transition slower. For some reason, many European drivers feel that it is very hard to get into NASCAR due to the lack of respect they get becoming rookies in the sport. Even though they might be veterans in other racing leagues they feel disrespected when they first start because many of the NASCAR veterans do not take the seriously and literally run them over in races. Both Ekstrom and Magnussen are worried about this happening but if they prove themselves now they will be able to get the respect they deserve before they make a full-time transition into NASCAR.
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