Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Under the Spotlight: Vickers Drives to Best Performance of 2011 Season

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Brian Vickers surprised everyone by almost winning the pole for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS). He also drove his No. 83 Red Bull Toyota to a fifth place finish, his highest since the NSCS race at Dover.

Vickers qualified with a time of 28.263 seconds and a speed of 134.763 mph. He held on to the pole throughout much of qualifying until he was eventually knocked off of the provisional pole by the “Rocket Man” Ryan Newman following a rain delay. In what was his best start of the season, had Vickers held on until the end, it would have also been his first pole of 2011.

In the second race of the Chase that came down to fuel mileage, Vickers performed well all day and took home his second top-five finish of the season and second at NHMS. He also led four laps; his first of 2011.Vickers has also had six top-10s this season.

Since returning after taking time off in the 2010 season due to health problems, Vickers has yet to visit victory lane. His last win was in the fall 2009 NSCS race at Michigan. After earning what is arguably his best performance in quite some time, perhaps this is the boost of confidence the team needs in order to finish out the 2011 season with a win.

The No. 83 Red Bull team struggled early in Sunday’s race with maintaining track position, but were able to improve as time went on.

“It was a good run for us,” said Vickers following the conclusion of Sunday’s race. “The Red Bull Toyota guys did a good job all day. We were good in the first stint, but not great. We over adjusted and got way too loose in the second or third stint and lost our track position.”

Vickers tied for second with Kyle Busch for having the most quality passes (passing a top-15 car while under green flag) and placed seventh for turning 10 of the fastest laps in the race.

“The last two runs were awesome,” Vickers said. “The car was so good, probably one of the better cars on the track. We had to pass 20 cars just to get back to the top-five and ran out of time, but I’m really proud of the effort by everyone.”

This weekend Vickers heads to Dover as the NSCS makes its second visit to Dover this season and third stop in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Prior to his performance at NHMS, Vickers earned his best finish of the season at Dover. Statistically, Vickers has one top-five and two top-10 finishes with an average starting position of 15.8. His best finish to date was 5th place.

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