|Brian Vickers and Martin Truex Jr. battle for position on track at Bristol.|
Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images for NASCAR
With the addition of Brian Vickers to the No. 55 this weekend, the MWR roster was a factor the entire race.
And cheering on Vickers (and the entire MWR team) from home, Mark Martin. Martin took to Twitter to root Vickers and his MWR teammates on from an unfamiliar seat, the couch. Following Mark Martin's Tweets makes me anticipate the remaining 5 or more races with Brian Vickers in the car, Martin was really engaged on Twitter with his fans. Kudos to him.
In addition, Michael Waltrip briefly mentioned in post-race that after Vickers performance today they could consider him for the road races that are still available. My vote: do it! Road course ringers have lost their edge lately, so why not Vickers?
Bowyer won for best sponsor plug during pre-race driver introductions. His intro song is none other than my "For your enjoyment" pick (see below!), which I chose days ago. Enjoy the bad karaoke of Clint singing courtesy of moi!
Bowyer's day in the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY was continually within the top 15 as he worked towards the front.
"15 is awesome too. May be a factor before its over as well. MWR is shining today," Mark Martin posted on Twitter as he cheered on the team.
And Martin was right. When it came down to the end Brad Keselowski was already ahead, but pulling home with top 5s were all three of the Michael Waltrip Racing drivers. Bowyer finished in 4th.
Bowyer gained six positions in the points, now in sixth and 31 behind the current leader Greg Biffle.
|Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR|
Points: 5th (owner's)
Leading three times for 125 laps, I would say that there is no rust on Brian Vickers whatsoever.
It was a rough start to the 2012 season for Vickers, but today that was all put behind him as he strapped into the cockpit to do what he does best - race!
After starting mid pack, Vickers steadily climbed his way to the front. By Lap 70 he was already in second. Lap 96, Vickers took the lead from AJ Allmendinger and led until the caution came out at Lap 116. Crew chief Rodney Childers called him in for four tires and fuel and got him back out to the lead.
Taking the lead again at Lap 258, Vickers led for five laps before Keselowski gained the lead. Sitting back and regaining his pace, Vickers stayed focused. Ending the day in fifth could be counted as a win after the months that have preceded.
“Well, when it’s your only (race) you better make it count, right?” Vickers said as he was interviewed following the race. “But I can’t take any of the credit. Wow. Just proud to be a part of MWR, with three cars in the top five."
Sharing the credit with his team and specifically crew chief Childers. Rodney Childers bolted together my first go-cart 20 years ago,” said Vickers. “ ... And he just put together my last one. And what a heck of a job. Called a great race. Everybody did good.”
Vickers took to his Facebook page to say, "Thank you Michael, Rob, Ty, Rodney, ALL road crew. People at the shop, Aarons, Toyota. The fans. That was fun!"
Vickers returns to the No. 55 in just two weeks at Martinsville Speedway.
|The No. 56 crew hard at work during a pit stop.|
The NAPA team Knows How to step it up a notch.
Ending the 2011 season in 18th, Truex became the senior driver at MWR following the departure of David Reutimann.
With the off-season changes at MWR, something seems to have changed within the 56 team itself. Maybe a renewed self-confidence?
After starting in 15th, Truex and crew chief Chad Johnson worked to get the No. 56 NAPA car dialed in. Johnson made the early call to stay out during the competition caution and earned valuable track position for Truex.
Battling loose conditions and with Truex complaining of needing grip, the team went to work. By Lap 300 Truex was 11th and moving forward. Ending the day, Truex was trying to catch Keselowski and Kenseth for the lead but to no avail.
"Great job by @MWRteam today. All 3 teams are rocking! Chad and the@napaknowhow guys gave me a great car and called a great race," Truex said on his Twitter account after the race.
Truex gains four positions in the points, now in fourth and 18 behind Biffle.
Who doesn't love bad karaoke? My long standing idea of NASCAR Idol needs to take off sometime. Picture it - many of today's NASCAR stars competing to be the NASCAR Idol. The prize? Laughter for all. Come on SPEED, FOX, someone...it is a great idea!
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