Red Bull Rundown Special Edition: Vickers and Red Bull Face Uncertain Times

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

With just one race left in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Brian Vickers will likely finish 25th in points, but at least he will get to finish.

Vickers’ 2010 season with Red Bull Racing was cut short after discovering he had blood clots and was forced to sit on the sidelines for the remainder of the season. He took this time to enjoy other things besides racing, such as traveling and spending time with family.
While his medical condition became widely discussed so did his return to the track and whether his absence would have an effect on his performance.
Currently in his fifth season driving the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, Vickers has three top-fives, seven top-10s and a best finish of fifth. In the past six races, he has only one top five finish (Talladega) and his best start is third in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in which he nearly nabbed the pole.
Vickers spoke with Skirts and Scuffs in September at NHMS about what keeps him motivated to compete week after week after dealing with two tough seasons in a row. “The last couple years has been tough, but I love what I do and obviously being sick last year and everything that happened made me realize how much I do love it and I love to win,” said Vickers prior to qualifying for the Sylvania 300. “When I’m here I want to do the best I can. I think just appreciation for the sport and love for it and knowing that it could all go away tomorrow because it actually has happened.”
While not much can be said about the 2010 season, 2009 was a successful year for the 28-year-old driver, earning six poles, which included both Michigan events and a win also at Michigan – all of which earned him a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR
This year has come with much more of a struggle for Vickers who early on in the season, seemed to get caught up in just about every wreck possible. With the year now coming to an end and the point standings pretty much determined, Vickers now must focus on securing a full-time ride for the 2012 season since his contract with Red Bull will end.
The Austrian beverage company announced in June that it would no longer have a team after the end of the season, leaving Vickers to seek a ride elsewhere.
Coincidentally, just as it seemed the season would come to an end without Vickers ever stepping foot in a NNS car, the opportunity with Turner came knocking at his door. While team owner Steve Turner denies that Vickers’ free agent status has anything to do with the decision to ask him to replace Sorenson, it certainly couldn’t have come at a better time.
While it would seem that a driver like Vickers, who has had some definite successes throughout his career would have no problem finding a team, this hasn’t been the case and surprisingly there has been limited discussion as to what the driver’s plans are – or perhaps there are no plans, at least in the Sprint Cup Series.
Vickers recently made headlines when he was chosen by Turner Motorsports to drive the No. 32 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) after Reed Sorenson was abruptly released from the ride.
Vickers was an obvious choice for the team since he was the 2003 NNS champion and already had success with Turner (formerly Braun Racing), earning 28 top-10 finishes and three poles while driving for the team from 2007-2010.
In order for Vickers to qualify for the past champions provisional in the 2012 season, he must have competed in a race in 2011. Wanting to keep his options open, Vickers reached out to several Nationwide teams throughout the season. He recently told Sporting News that in order to drive in the NNS he first had to get the permission of Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
Vickers has been scrutinized for allegedly wrecking a handful of fellow drivers in recent weeks. Most recently is the incident between Vickers and Matt Kenseth in Sunday’s race at Phoenix in which Kenseth believes that Vickers retaliated against him for an earlier incident at Martinsville. Vickers’ intentions are not definite, but many have speculated whether this might have an effect on the driver’s reputation and marketability in the free agent market.
When Skirts and Scuffs spoke with Vickers back in September, he discussed his overall goal for the remainder of the season, which was to land in victory lane before the end of 2011. With just one chance left at a win (Homestead-Miami), Vickers will likely be looking to next season for a victory.
Red Bull Rundown Special Edition: Vickers and Red Bull Face Uncertain Times Red Bull Rundown Special Edition: Vickers and Red Bull Face Uncertain Times Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 Rating: 5