SHOWDOWN IN THE SANDHILLS The Lady in Black, the Track Too Tough to Tame ... call Darlington Raceway whatever you want. Either way, she can be a real ...
SHOWDOWN IN THE SANDHILLS
The Lady in Black, the Track Too Tough to Tame ... call Darlington Raceway whatever you want. Either way, she can be a real #*%^@!
82. SCOTT SPEED NO. 50 -- MINI MILESTONE: Speed rolled off from the 12th position in the 50th Sprint Cup start of his career Saturday night and fought handling problems around Richmond's .75-mile, D-shaped oval. He got the free pass 50 laps in, and the immediate changes the crew made were "unbelievable." But a furious pace by the leaders quickly put the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota back in traffic. He finished 35th.
VITAL SIGNS: Ranks 25th in points -- 37 from 20th, 153 from 15th and 206 from 12th.
IN THE CLEAR FOR QUALIFYING: Speed pulled double duty in his lone trip to Darlington Raceway last season. He drove Michael Waltrip Racing's No. 99 Red Bull Toyota to a 13th-place finish in the Nationwide Series race. A day later in Sprint Cup, he drove to 26th-place showing.
HE'S A PASSIN' FOOL: Whether it be in corners or on straightaways, Speed is passing people. This season he's executed 1,297 passes (seventh most in the series), with 49.7 percent of those passes coming in the turns and 50.3 percent coming on the straightaways.
83. BRIAN VICKERS
BV OUT OF 'TP': Vickers' ninth-place starting position Saturday night at Richmond was his best of the season, but the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota lost valuable track position after an early pit stop for a left-front "packer" to help with the splitter scraping the surface. He got his lap back on lap 154 and rode out the remainder of the race just inside the top 20. He finished 20th.
VITAL SIGNS: Ranks 24th in points -- 25 from 20th, 141 from 14th and 194 from 12th.
FAVORITE STOP OF 'EM ALL: South Carolina's Darlington Raceway is Vickers' favorite of all 22 tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit. "It's a hard track, but always exciting and fun for us drivers," BV said. "It's old, the pavement is worn out and the track has a lot of character and history. We go to so many tracks with similar configurations, but nowhere compares to Darlington." Vickers owns six starts at the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval. His best start (fifth) and finish (16th) came in May 2006. His best showing with Red Bull Racing Team was 25th in 2008.
THREE IN 2003: One of Vickers' three career Nationwide Series victories came at Darlington in August 2003 -- the same year he earned the championship. On Friday night, Vickers will drive Braun Racing's No. 32 Toyota for the for the fifth time this season. He's finished ninth or better in the four starts so far.
A MOM GETTING IT DONE
Ramona Vickers has been there to see her son race every Mother's Day weekend since Brian Vickers broke into the Nationwide Series in 2002. Eight years later, Ramona, with Brian at her side, will walk the pre-race stage at Darlington Raceway as NASCAR recognizes the moms who helped make it all possible for their sons.
"He always loved to go fast and race you at everything he did," Ramona said, "whether it was racing down the stairs or the driveway and back, to taking the trash can down the driveway, to getting the mail, or just bike riding with his family."
The need for speed hit four wheels when Brian, at age 8, saved his allowance and offered to do extra chores around their Thomasville, N.C., home to raise money for a yard kart.
"He absolutely loved it. He tore up the yard racing around the house," Ramona remembered. "When we took him to a go-kart race where a friend of ours was racing, that was all it took -- he was hooked."
But it's not always easy watching her son race cars at dangerously high speeds inches ahead, behind and to the side of the next guy.
"It's really exciting, but sometimes it does get a little nerve-racking," Ramona said. "He has always been able to keep me on the edge of my seat, even to this day. He loves what he does and is very happy, so that makes me happy."