NASCAR drivers team with Olympians for unique Park City experience
PARK CITY, Utah — Some big names from the world of racing converged on Park City Wednesday to team up with Olympians for a unique, “whirlwind” experience.
NASCAR drivers Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace headlined a group hosted by U.S. Ski & Snowboard at the Utah Olympic Park. The drivers took part in multiple events, including summer bobsled runs.
“It’s kind of a mix between a rollercoaster and hitting the banking at Daytona for us, so interesting concept,” Hamlin said during an interview with KSL TV. “When you drive a two-seater race car, when you’re in the passenger seat, you feel like you’re going twice the speed that you are when you’re driving, so for me—being third in line and not really being able to see the turns coming — it certainly catches you by surprise.”
Wallace said he didn’t really know what to expect coming into the day and he wasn’t disappointed.
“That was fast!” he said of the bobsled run. “The speeds were really cool. The ‘Gs’ were a lot for the type of speed that we were running. At some tracks, we’re three times that speed and don’t get to experience those Gs.”
Some of the drivers also got the opportunity to try their hand at jumps off the water ramps at the Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool after receiving world-class training from some of the Olympians who were on-site, including Hannah Soar.
On his first attempt, Wallace tumbled head-first into the pool to the roar of onlookers. The NASCAR driver, however, came back with a much stronger second attempt which was met with applause and cheers.
“Yeah, I’m satisfied with that one,” he exclaimed after exiting the pool.
Other invited guests included NHRA Funny Car drivers J.R. Todd and Alexis DeJoria, NHRA Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon and Formula Drift driver Fredric Aasbo.
The group also toured the USANA Center of Excellence Wednesday afternoon and took part in a workout with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes. Olympic luge silver medalist Chris Mazdzer said though those involved had experience in different sports, they shared the common thread of competition.
The event was made possible in part through a corporate partnership with Toyota, according to participants.
“It combines people from so many different sports that otherwise would not be interacting with one another and there’s so much we can learn from each other,” Mazdzer said.
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