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David Gilliland detours on the way to Las Vegas — through the Grand Canyon

Mar 5, 2014, 12:08 PM EST

David Gilliland2 AP

When David Gilliland said he was going to go out for a walk on his way to this weekend’s Sprint Cup race in Las Vegas, he wasn’t kidding.

The driver of Front Row Motorsports’ No. 38 Ford on Wednesday completed a two-day hike covering more than 20 miles of trails through the Grand Canyon.

According to a team press release, Gilliland carried over 40 pounds of gear and slept in a sleeping bag and tent on the canyon floor Tuesday night.

“Even though I grew up out west, I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon and I’ve always wanted to,” said Gilliland, a Southern California native. “This way I’ll be able to see it all at once.”

In other words, Gilliland is essentially compressing a multi-day trip into a day-and-a-half.

“It’s going to be hard,” he said. “I’ve done three smaller hikes before but nothing like this. I’m going to have a yellow (rookie) stripe on my backpack for sure.” said Gilliland. “We’re going down the hardest trail, too. It’s about eight and a half miles in, and then we have a 13-and-a-half-mile hike out.”

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