Red Bull Rundown: Vickers Says First Fifth Place Finish of Season, Dover Race Have Special Meaning

Credit: Chris Graythen, Getty Images for NASCAR
Brian Vickers and the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Team felt a sense of accomplishment this Sunday at Dover International Speedway earning their first top-5 of the season in the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks.
Sunday’s 400-mile race all came down to strategy and Vickers along with crew chief Ryan Pemberton making a gamble that paid off. Under the final caution of the FedEx 400, Pemberton made the call for a two-tire pit stop with some drivers taking four tires and some none at all. Vickers entered pit road in 11th, restarted the race in fourth and crossed the finish line in fifth – the team’s first of the season.
“I have to thank the Red Bull guys - they did a great job with the car,” said Vickers following his season-high finish. “It was definitely a team effort this weekend, both of the teams were working really close together. Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) and the guys made good calls all day in the pits - good stops all day.”
The first races of the season have been strewn with bad luck, Vickers often getting caught up in wrecks. A few bouts of hope were seen at Auto Club Speedway and Richmond where the No. 83 team finished eighth and tenth respectively.
The fifth place finish could not have come at a better time for the driver of the No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota. At this point in the season last year, Dover was the first track at which Vickers was unable to compete after being admitted to the hospital for a condition involving blood clots.
“It’s a special race for me,” Vickers said. “Last year, I didn’t make it here. Last year, I was laying in the hospital with IVs in both arms when this race was going around. It feels pretty good to finish it - and finish it well.”
Early on in the race (Lap 2) Vickers made contact with the wall but did not seem to be affected by it. By Lap 213, Vickers moved into the 11th position and by Lap 366 he was in fourth.
“I still felt good about the car,” Vickers said. “The guys did a really good job all day in the pits - good calls. Not over-adjusting the car, fixing damage from the start of the race. The biggest thing that you needed was track position” and that’s something the No. 83 team definitely had – remaining up front for much of the day.
Teammate and driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Racing Toyota, Kasey Kahne, started fourth in Sunday’s race and seemed to be headed for his third consecutive top-5 of the season until engine failure forced him out of the race early.
On Lap 235 Kahne was up to as high as the third position and about 100 laps later (Lap 331), Kahne’s No. 4 Toyota came to a stop on turn two and had to be pushed off the track.
“We had a great run with our Red Bull Toyota,” said Kahne. “The car was fast. I was really loose, we kept working on it and we got up there and would fall back on the runs. There’s a lot of rubber on the track coming off the tires so you get sliding around a lot. Early on I actually, it was like something was wrong on restarts and I’d get about six or seven thousand (RPM) and it would stop. I over-revved it one time trying to get it to go. I think that probably had something to do with why the engine let go. It was probably a little bit my fault, but it wasn’t running.”
Many believed that Kahne had actually made contact with the wall - he confirmed through his twitter account that in fact he did not hit the wall - but had just stopped high in turn two.
After Sunday's FedEx 400 at Dover, Kahne lost three spots in the point standings and now sits in 18th. Vickers picked up two positions and is now in 27th.
Next on the schedule, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the Sprint All-Star race. In his seven starts, Kahne has one win, one pole, one top-5 and two top-10 finishes. Perhaps the most memorable was when Kahne took the win in 2008 after being voted in by fans.
Unlike his teammate, Vickers is not guaranteed a spot in the race and will become eligible only by fan vote. In his three appearances in the Sprint All-Star race, Vickers has both one top-5 and top-10.


Kristina LaFountain's columns for Skirts and Scuffs include Red Bull Rundown, Under the Spotlight and Racing Toward a Cause. She is also a contributor for Speedway Media. You can follow Kristina online at
Red Bull Rundown: Vickers Says First Fifth Place Finish of Season, Dover Race Have Special Meaning Red Bull Rundown: Vickers Says First Fifth Place Finish of Season, Dover Race Have Special Meaning Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 Rating: 5