Sunday, August 26, 2012

MWR Weekly Wrap-Up: Vickers leads the team to top-11 finishes at Bristol

Since Brian Vickers, Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. all walked away from Bristol with top-11 finishes, it was a successful weekend overall.

Neither Bowyer nor Truex locked themselves into the Chase, but each driver gained one position in the points standings. The Chase berths are coming and Michael Waltrip Racing is on the map!

Credit: Michael Waltrip Racing
Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY
Started: 23rd
Finished: 7th
Points: 6th (-55) gain of one position
Intro Song: "Promised Land" by Elvis Presley

To borrow Elvis's term, Bowyer was TCB at Bristol. (For you young folks, that is Taking Care of Business!)

The No. 15 team has been TCB all season and should lock themselves into the Chase next weekend at Atlanta.

After starting in 23rd (qualifying was cancelled due to rain, set per the rule book) Bowyer had some ground to make up. He and crew chief Brian Pattie struggled a bit, bouncing around like a yo-yo with pit strategies.

Making their final pit stop at Lap 415, it was go time for the No. 15. After restarting in 12th position, Bowyer battled hard to bring home a 7th place finish, his 14th top-10 finish in 2012.

Bowyer took to Twitter this morning: "Man our car was super fast last night. It's so hard to pull the reins back when u have a car like that. Had to TCB to make sure we in chase!"

“We had a great 5-hour ENERGY Toyota tonight. We could run the high or low groove and ran through the field a couple times. We got down towards the end and I was hoping to make up a little more ground than we did, but we are thinking big picture right now. No mistakes. So we gave it as much as we could while making sure to bring it home in one piece. Overall a single digit finish is what we were after and that’s what we got. I don’t know what the points look like, but I’m hoping we are in a good position after next week in Atlanta.”

Credit: Michael Waltrip Racing
Brian Vickers, No. 55 MyClassicGarage
Started: 22nd
Finished: 4th
Points: 18th (-180) owners points
Intro Song: "Livin’ On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi

"Livin' On a Prayer" was a great song choice for Brian Vickers. His part-time schedule with MWR is winding down and we still don't know what 2013 will hold for the young driver.

After starting in 22nd, Vickers worked his way into the top 10 early. At Lap 265 he was forced to pit with a loose wheel and went two laps down in the process. Thanks to Aaron's, he got consecutive Lucky Dog passes and was back on the lead lap at Lap 328.

In the closing laps, Vickers was battling Carl Edwards for the lead when he got loose and had an amazing save of what could have been a nasty crash. Holding onto it, Vickers ended the night 4th, another great finish for the No. 55 team.

"I tried to pull a slide job on Carl (Edwards) -- I gave it all I could, but it wasn’t enough," Vickers said on racing side-by-side with Edwards for the race lead. "I’m still really happy with a fourth-place. Obviously, pleased, but not satisfied. I’d loved to have won this thing and I think we had a shot at it.  My 55 Toyota ran great all night. It was a track position race. At first I wasn’t too sure about the track changes but then there at the end, it got pretty wild and got pretty hairy. It reminded me of the old Bristol watching the races way back when. There was another track very similar to this up north where we used to run Hooters Pro Cup and it was a high-banked half-mile and you ran wide open right around the top and it reminded me a lot of that."

Mark Martin returns to the car next weekend at Atlanta. Vickers' next race is at Loudon.

Credit: Michael Waltrip Racing
Martin Truex Jr, No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS
Started: 15th
Finished: 11th
Points: 5th (-52) gain of one position
Intro Song: "Dixieland Delight" by Alabama

After leading 43 laps at Bristol, Martin Truex Jr. has now led 376 laps this season and is on the verge of a win.

With their 11th place finish, Truex moves up one position in the points to fifth and should clench his Chase berth at Atlanta.

Truex summed up his night by saying, "We battled the same issue we had all weekend. Our NAPA Toyota just would not turn. Chad made some adjustments to make it better but it was really tough out there to pass. We could only run the high line. It just would not work on the bottom. We learned a lot this weekend and will look over what our teammates did. We can certainly learn from this."


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