Red Bull Rundown: Ill-Fated Pit Stop, Caution Rob Red Bull Team of Top Finish at Michigan

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne both started Sunday’s race at Michigan in the top 10 (fourth and eighth respectively) and things seemed to be looking up for the Red Bull Racing Team, which has yet to see a victory this season. However, things quickly changed for the teammates during one ill-fated pit stop.

Vickers entered Sunday’s Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 with the odds in his favor.

Despite having some tough luck this season, usually getting caught up in other people’s wrecks, he has managed to nab a series of top-10 finishes and a season-high finish of fifth at Dover in May. Vickers has also had some success at Michigan, winning the August 2009 race in what was the first Sprint Cup Series victory for Red Bull Racing.

The No. 83 Red Bull Racing Toyota remained up front for much of the race until lap 157 when his crew called him in for a green-flag pit stop.

After stalling in the pits, Vickers was able to refire the engine and complete his pit stop for fuel and tires. However, it was also at this time that a caution came out for a wreck involving the No. 42 of Montoya and No. 71 of Andy Lally.

Vickers was scored one lap down and after receiving the wave-around was put back in the 20th position. In the final laps of the race Vickers managed to climb all the way up to 10th, the same place in which he would finish the race.

“When we pitted and that caution came out we beat the 18 (Kyle Busch) to the line and per the rule we were supposed to go back around the field before everybody pitted, which we would’ve been able to pit with the leaders, fuel the car and race with the leaders like we were supposed to, but, NASCAR didn’t let us go back around,” explained Vickers following the race. “That pretty much screwed us the rest of the race. We were racing at the back of the field, trying to get track position again when we should’ve been racing the leaders.”

In Sunday’s race, Kahne had a similar fate as teammate Vickers.

The driver of the No. 4 Red Bull Racing Toyota has also had success at Michigan, winning the pole in last year’s August race at the track. Kahne also has one win, a second-place finish in last year’s June race and six top-10 finishes at Michigan throughout his career.

Kahne managed to run toward the front of the pack for a good portion of the race.

It was during the same pit cycle around lap 154 that both Red Bull cars experienced trouble on pit road. After stalling on pit road, Kahne was unable to start the engine and was stuck in his pit stall for a minute and four seconds.

Before entering the pits, Kahne was running in the fourth position and because of the incident, ended up finishing the race in 28th. Kahne’s finish in Sunday’s race caused him to lose two positions in the point standings while Vickers’s 10th place finish helped him gain two spots.

Next on the Sprint Cup Series schedule is Sonoma, where Kahne has had quite a bit of success while teammate Vickers has seemed to struggle at one of the few road courses on the circuit.

In his seven starts at Sonoma, Kahne has one victory (June 2009), two poles (June 2010 and June 2008) and two top-5 and two top-10 finishes. Vickers earned his first and only pole at the track in June 2009, but has an average finish of 20.0 and a career-best of 14th.

Late Monday, Red Bull announced its plans to leave NASCAR after the 2011 season.

Despite having little success in the Sprint Cup series, the team supported Vickers throughout his absence for much of last season after learning of his medical condition.

With Vickers in the final year of his contract, the team also signed Kahne to a 1-year contract until his move to Hendrick Motorsports next season, with hopes that the driver would be able to bring some success to the team.

Although the team has 10 top-10 combined finishes so far this season between Kahne and Vickers (each with five top-10 finishes), with only 11 races remaining before the start of the Chase, the team seems to be unable to gain much momentum in the point standings.

On Monday Kahne posted on his Twitter page explaining he had heard the news about Red Bull leaving the sport and assured that he would give his all while finishing out the season with the team.

Kahne tweeted, “All I can say is the (No. 4) REDBULL team is still going to do all we can to win this year. We know we can!!”

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: Ill-Fated Pit Stop, Caution Rob Red Bull Team of Top Finish at Michigan Red Bull Rundown: Ill-Fated Pit Stop, Caution Rob Red Bull Team of Top Finish at Michigan Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 Rating: 5