LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP Yes, the Inland Empire's endless acres of warehouses, distribution centers and freeway interchanges hold a special place in our heart. Somewhere in there lies Auto Club Speedway, the site of our first NASCAR points...
LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP
Yes, the Inland Empire's endless acres of warehouses, distribution centers and freeway interchanges hold a special place in our heart. Somewhere in there lies Auto Club Speedway, the site of our first NASCAR points race in February 2007.
Brian Vickers finished 10th that day, and ever since, we've backed up that performance at the 2-mile track. Needless to say, we were sad to see one of Auto Club's 2011 two dates stripped from the schedule.
82. SCOTT SPEED
FOUND THEIR WINGS: The happy hour session Saturday at ve crew chief Ryan Pemberton and the No. 82 team, as we'd say, wings. They hit the setup after struggling in the first two practices and qualifying, and the No. 82 climbed up the speed charts. After starting 33rd, Scott Speed drove his way into the top 20 by lap 90 and the top 15 by lap 183. Minor adjustments kept him near the front, as Speed never dropped out of the top 20 to finish 19th.
FLAWLESS IN FONTANA: In February, near the 200-lap mark, Speed stayed on track during a light rain shower. He led three laps but eventually pitted for fuel and tires. He charged to 10th after a late restart, saying the c was the "most consistent and balanced it's been." The money stop came with 25 laps remaining, and a flawless effort by the No. 82 crew helped Speed maintain track position. He finished 11th. VITAL SIGNS: Ranks 27th in the driver standings.
83. REED SORENSON
HEARTLAND + HEARTACHE: If we had a nickel for every time "tight" was heard over the radio Sunday at Kansas, it would buy well, just about nothing in NASCAR. Simply put: Sorenson fought an ill- handling No. 83 and finished 30th.
GOT IT GOIN' ON: Since the February 2007 race at Auto Club Speedway a span of seven events the No. 83 has six finishes of 12th or better, including Brian Vickers' 11th-place run last February. They are: 10th, eighth, 11th, 12th, 10th, 29th and 12th. Sorenson should like his stay in the Inland Empire. VITAL SIGNS: The No. 83 ranks 27th in the car owner standings.
HE'S GOT SPIRIT. HOW 'BOUT YOU?
Displays character and achievement in the face of adversity? Check. Values sportsmanship? Check. Contributes to motorsports? Check.
Over the past five months, No. 83 driver Brian Vickers has met that criteria and much more. And for that, he was selected as the third-quarter winner of the National Motorsports Press Association's NMPA Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award.
Vickers was selected based on his attitude and determination to return to racing after blood clots forced him out of the car in May. Bobby Hutchens, competition director at Stewart-Haas Racing, won the award in the first quarter; J.D. Gibbs and his family in the second.
"I can't thank the National Motorsports Press Association enough for the third quarter Spirit Award," Vickers said in a statement. "It was quite the thrill to see that come into my inbox when I arrived back from my trip to Italy. To be named for this award alongside people like Bobby and J.D., who have endured so much with their families, it's an honor. It's also a testament to my family, friends, the industry and the fans that have continued to support me. All of this has definitely kept my spirit up during what, at times, has been very difficult.
"I look forward to being in the media for more positive things next season, hopefully starting with a win at Daytona."