How NASCAR pavement copes with rain, a Ram made for Santa, Jay Leno sprints in a Pontiac


How does a NASCAR track deal with rain?

Intake: Water on a racetrack can quickly turn a race into a demolition derby. That’s why during the latest paving of Atlanta Motor Speedway the team has chosen to bake in a handy solution: an open drainage layer. This more porous layer of asphalt allows water to run through it rather than over the surface like traditional pavement. The team behind the paving process says this should keep the track in better shape over the years because moisture will not get trapped and cause problems during extremely hot and unusually cold conditions.

Exhaust: Banked tracks beg for high speeds, and water running on the surface is just dangerous. This seems like a pretty cool solution to the problem and will hopefully make for safer racing in years to come. It’s also a delight to see just how the sausage is made when it comes to track reconstruction and renovation.

This 6×6 Mercedes pickup is the more practical alternative to a 6×6 G-Class


Intake: Classic Youngtimers, a Dutch auto broker, is selling this one-off creation inspired by the extravagant G-Wagon 6×6. This version is based on the Mercedes X-Class pickup, itself a derivative of the D23 Nissan Navara, neither of which were sold in the United States. A handsome pickup in factory form, this beast now rides on a four-inch lift and has an extra axle out back for added traction and what seems to be a fantastic departure angle. It’s powered by a 254-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel and comes with a price tag, including VAT, of $157,190.

Exhaust: As amazing as this creation looks, we’re finding it hard to look back at all of the pickups we’ve driven and remember a scenario where we’d wished we had an extra axle. Oh, that doesn’t make us hypocrites—we’re not saying this vehicle is practical, simply that it’s “more practical” than its G-Wagon inspiration thanks to improved fuel economy compared to its gasoline-chugging counterpart. On the other hand, we didn’t say we wouldn’t want one of our own.

Jay Leno shows off his 1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint

Intake: In the latest installment of Jay Leno’s Garage, Jay shows us all around his restomod 1968 Pontiac Firebird Sprint convertible. The 4.1-liter overhead cam engine, a Pontiac exclusive, was rebuilt by Ed Pink Racing Engines with custom-made rockers and is backed by a TKO five-speed. Jay explains that the Sprint was Pontiac’s go at a more European-style sports car and Jay’s car is even sportier now thanks to tubular control arms and a new steering box from Hotchkis Sport Suspension.

Exhaust: Pontiac Sprints are rarely seen these days and popping the hood on one of these is guaranteed to draw a crowd at just about any show. They’re one of the coolest pony cars of the ’60s and this one sounds amazing. Jay’s subtle upgrades only serve to enhance it!

Genesis’ G90 flagship grows edgier for 2023

Intake: In old-school fashion, Genesis’ flagship model is a sedan. Five years into the G90’s tenure wearing the giant shield grille, it’s time for a little visual refinement. Like its smaller G80 and G70 siblings, the 2023 G90 will adapt Genesis’ unique quad headlamp signature, emphasizing the design cue by picking up the parallel lines behind the front wheel. The rear fascia adopts severe though still elegant creases that ever so slightly echo those of the Hyundai Elantra. Genesis’ prioritization of elegance is also clear by the construction of the hood and fingers as a single clamshell to disguise distracting cutlines.

Exhaust: When our own Jack Baruth reviewed the V-8-powered 2020 G90, he pronounced it “a pure delight.” We know nothing more about the 2023 car than the pictures you see here, but unless Genesis decides to drop the 5.0-liter V-8 from the powertrain offerings, expect the G90 to offer more of the same poised, full-bore luxury. 

Special-edition Ram trucks shoulder Santa’s float load

Ram 1500 RED Special Edition front three quarter
Stellantis | Ram Trucks

Intake: Santa must like the idea of a 12-inch touchscreen running Uconnect for his Christmas Eve antics. Ram trucks pulled all the wild floats this year at the 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, headlined by a special edition Ram 1500 Limited (RED) Edition truck that pulled the float depicting Santa’s sleigh. Ram recently joined forces with (RED) to help fund life-saving programs that help treat epidemics such as AIDS and, more recently, COVID-19. The special-edition trucks feature unique red grille lettering and special badges for the door and center console.

Exhaust: There’s nothing quite like the background noise of the Thanksgiving Day parade while your in-laws fret over whether or not they brined the turkey long enough or whose fault it is that the cranberry sauce is conspicuously absent this year. Nevertheless, it’s neat to see the Ram brand proudly pitching in with pickups (and Promaster vans) to help put on the event—even if it’s a TV-only ordeal, like this year’s.

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