Red Bull Rundown: Bristol Yields Different Results for Kahne and Vickers

Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR
With uncertainty among drivers and teams coming into Sunday’s race, following tire problems during practice and qualifying, the results for the Jeff Byrd 500 Presented by Food City at Bristol Motor Speedway differed greatly for Red Bull Racing drivers Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers. (Kahne, 9th and Vickers, 36th)
During NASCAR Sprint Cup practice, at the world’s fastest half-mile track, it was learned that the tires used failed to lay enough rubber down on the track causing excessive wear.
Tires are not usually an issue at Bristol but Goodyear decided to bring in tires made of the same compound used during last season’s races at Kansas and California.  This caused the drivers and teams to become weary since the tires would then differ from those used during practice and qualifying.

Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR
Vickers, driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota, commented on the tire situation saying, “I don’t understand why we changed them” and “I think they’re making the right decision by changing them back.”
Following Friday’s qualifying session, Vickers found himself starting from the 30th position and teammate Kahne would start from 10th.
Kahne, driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Racing Toyota, came into the race at Bristol with momentum from a second-place finish and a victory under his belt – each in a different series. He finished second in Saturday’s Nationwide series race at Bristol.  During the off-week, Kahne piloted the No. 18 Great Clips Toyota in the Camping World Truck Series at Darlington and brought home a win for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Before the off-week, Kahne nabbed an admirable 14th place finish in Las Vegas after wrecking just past the 100-lap mark, which in turn made Kahne’s car loose for the remainder of the race.
Last August Kahne finished fifth in the race at Bristol and has a track-best finish of second (August 2007). During the same race, he started from the pole and led for a total of 305 laps.
Vickers, however, has seemed to struggle with gaining momentum since returning to Red Bull Racing after missing 25 of 36 races last season while dealing with a serious medical condition.
With a 2011 best finish of 10th, the race at Bristol brought a tough break for Vickers who completed 411/500 laps after wrecking early on Lap 28.
After issues repairing the radiator, the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota was able to return to the track on lap 81 and finished the race in the 36th position - 69 laps off pace.
While the No. 83 team spent a good portion of their day trying to gain laps and points, the No. 4 Red Bull Racing team focused on consistency and pit strategy which managed to keep Kahne in the top-10 for much of the race.
“The best part of our race was our pit crew,” Kahne said, “our pit stops were awesome the entire race. It was the best job they’ve done all season long. They’ve been good all year, but not that good. It was awesome to gain spots every time on pit road.”
On lap 436 (the eighth caution of the day) Kahne got loose which led to contact between himself and Mark Martin; this set off a chain reaction between Martin and Kevin Harvick – a wreck that also collected Trevor Bayne, Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer and Juan Pablo Montoya.
Following the contact with Martin, Kahne remained in the top-10 and with a race-best position of fourth finished the race in ninth, up one position from where he started.
Kahne explained, “at times we were a top-5 car and at the end we were a top-10 car. The momentum thing got us. It was a decent day and we finished.”
Going into next week’s race in Fontana, Kahne sits 12th in points - up one position following Las Vegas.
Vickers is down seven positions from where he was previously - now sitting 31st in points.
In last season’s first visit to Auto Club Speedway, Kahne started 4th and finished 34th – Vickers started 23rd and finished a career best of 12th.
Kahne’s best finish at Auto Club Speedway is fourth.
Red Bull Rundown: Bristol Yields Different Results for Kahne and Vickers Red Bull Rundown: Bristol Yields Different Results for Kahne and Vickers Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 Rating: 5