Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Red Bull Rundown: Wrong Place, Same Time for Teammates Kahne and Vickers

Three-wide racing results is a rough day for Vickers.
Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

Once again Red Bull Racing Team driver Brian Vickers found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, this time bouncing of the front bumper of teammate Kasey Kahne. The two bulls collided during Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 as the Red Bull Racing Toyotas of Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers made unintentional contact in search of the perfect line while exiting turn four of the 1.058-mile oval of New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

In trying to find room on the outside, along with the No. 36 of Dave Blaney, Kahne’s No. 4 Red Bull Toyota tapped his teammate’s No. 83 Red Bull Toyota just enough to send him spinning along the frontstretch wall. The wreck sent Vickers and his No.83 to the garage and to a 34th place finish, while Kahne was able to fix any damage and finish the race in 6th place.

“It’s a teammate so I wouldn’t usually stay there with Brian because we race each other really clean,” Kahne said. “But it was Blaney, and he was going backwards because they were just a little bit off the pace, which is perfectly fine and they do a great job. He’s going to let me go as we’re going down the straightaway - I know that from racing with him all the time."

“Then it would have been two-wide for me and Brian back at the start-finish so I thought we would just stay there. Brian must not have known that I stayed there. He probably thought that I was going to back out. I wish that wouldn’t have happened for sure, but I was there.”

Prior to the incident, it had looked like a promising day for Vickers who started Sunday’s race in 21st and was able make his way into the top two by midway through the race on the restart on lap 169.

“Kasey and I have always raced well together in the past as teammates, so I don’t think anything was intentional,” Vickers said. “Once again, we had a really good car. Just another case of wrong place at the same time.”

The wreck also cost teammate Kahne significant track position as he had to make his way down pit road twice while under caution to repair damages from the incident involving Vickers. Kahne, who spent much of the race inside the top-10 and led five laps, restarted the race in 32nd with just 71 laps remaining.

Kahne was able to charge through the pack and cracked the top 10 in no time following the final restart. In the final laps of the race, Kahne and Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 were able to pass the No. 78 of Regan Smith to battle it out for fifth and sixth place with Johnson ultimately winning the fight and claiming fifth.

“It was a tough race. This is a tough track,” Kahne said following his seventh top 10 of the season. “The car was pretty good and at times it was really good. The last half of the race, it wasn’t really that good. I don’t know how we missed it. It was just loose off.”

Kahne now sits 14th in the point standings, up three spots from last week and 47 points outside of the top 10. Vickers remains 26th in the standings.

The Red Bull Racing Team will have a week to regroup as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes the week off before heading to Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400.

With just seven races remaining before the Chase, Kahne and Vickers have several of their best tracks to look forward to and at which to hopefully pick up some wins. At the next seven tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule, Kahne has a combined five wins and seven poles. Vickers has one win and five poles with an impressive three poles earned at Michigan.

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 @klafounta.

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