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Hauler Chat With Brian Vickers, No. 25 GMAC Monte Carlo SS California Speedway February 25, 2006, Page 1 HAULER CHAT WITH BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVY MONTE CARLO SS: WAS THERE AGGRESSIVE RACING AT DAYTONA? WILL IT SPILL OVER TO HERE? - ...

Hauler Chat With Brian Vickers, No. 25 GMAC Monte Carlo SS
California Speedway
February 25, 2006, Page 1

HAULER CHAT WITH BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVY MONTE CARLO SS:

WAS THERE AGGRESSIVE RACING AT DAYTONA? WILL IT SPILL OVER TO HERE? - "It is a constant battle, your car is constantly tight/loose/tight/loose. Handling is very important there. These cars leave Daytona with the bumpers knocked in and donuts down the doors. So that seems like pretty hard racing to me, but everybody looks at it different. You are three wide and you are fighting for inches. That is not the case here. Not everybody is grouped together so much, you are not constantly trying to use up somebody's air to drag them down or put air on their spoiler. I think it just creates a situation for more controversy, people getting together more often. More times than not, the first time somebody gets together, it is usually and accident. The second time, it is usually intentional. You take the accident factor out of the way and the rest of it goes away as well.

ON RETURNING TO CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY - "We had a good run here last time, we finished third. I have always liked this track. It is a fun, fast race track. Hendrick Motorsports has a good reputation here and we have such a great organization and share notes so well that every time we go to a track where the tracks run good or at least several of them have in the past, it is always a positive for everybody."

HAS THE EVENTS THAT HAVE TRANSPIRED WITH THE 48 TEAM CAUSED ANY STRESS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM? "No. I think it was pretty stressful for my PR person, Chris Haid and the media department and certainly Jimmie (Johnson) and Cad (Knaus). But it didn't affect the No. 25 and the No. 5 team. It may have slightly affected the No. 24 team because they are in the same shop. But you move on, you go with it. This is a tough organization, we will learn from the past and move on. That 48 team will be just fine."

DO YOU FIND IT A BURDEN TO BE LABELED A YOUNG DRIVER WITH GREAT POTENTIAL? "It is part of it and you are honored to have it. I have handled it the best that I could and I think that being with Hendrick Motorsports, GMAC, Chevy and some of the great sponsors that we have, they haven't really added to that. Most of it has come from the media or the fans. Rick (Hendrick) is a great leader and has mentioned to me several times that he and everyone in the organization is behind me 100%, we know you can get the job done. Just take your time and when the time is right, it will happen."

ON BUMP DRAFTING AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING; ROOKIE OPINIONS VS VETERAN OPINIONS OF ROUGH DRIVING: "We came in the sport at a time when bump drafting was a very common factor and you did it very aggressively to get to the front, so I have never known it to be any other way. Some of the other guys have. I think that bump drafting is key to making a great race at Daytona and Talladega. It helps you complete passes, it helps lines move forward, and without it you kind of stall out and run side-by-side. So I don't know where the balance is. I think NASCAR did a good job at Daytona of policing, keeping it under control. It is really more, like Mike Helton said, aggressive driving instead of bump drafting. It is more of a guy saying I want that spot so I am just going to run over you. I think that is the problem. They just run you off the road or intentionally put you in a spot on the track that they know can't get out of. The bump drafting when we are going down the backstretch in a straight line and somebody pushes me so we both get the lead, I don't have a problem with that. I don't think there is anything wrong with it.

"When you are a rookie, you are young, full of energy and inexperienced. That is part of the sport that is part of growing up. Every veteran out there was a rookie and young at one time. They were probably aggressive, and sometimes a little over their head. I have never seen a 20 year old in a car with 800 horsepower doing 200 miles an hour that wasn't a little bit (over their head). But the older you get, the calmer you get. The more patient you get, the more experience you get. I don't understand why everyone sees it as a new situation or new problem. If you look back 30 years ago, the rookies were inexperienced then too.

"I made my fair share of mistakes, just like the veterans did. I think there is a fine line as a veteran going to a rookie and saying hey, watch out, you need to be careful, you need to do this, you need to do that but doing it in a way that they remember they were a rookie once too instead of going to a rookie like you were never a rookie and you never made a mistake. That doesn't come across well."

"It is the unpredictable that is always an uncomfortable situation. As you gain experience in the sport, you go through these situations and learn how to do some of these things and be aggressive but do it at the right time. You let the guys around you know when you are going to do it because they would have done the same thing. What happens, especially at speedway races is people feel a little more uncomfortable around rookies and that is why they struggle at speedway race tracks is become no one wants to be behind them. It is something I went through. It is hard to earn respect out there as a rookie."

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CHANGES THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE TO LAS VEGAS AFTER YOU GUYS RUN THIS YEAR'S RACE? "Everyone is always afraid of change. Sometimes change is bad, but most times it is a good thing. I think the changes they are going to make are not just for the sake of change, but they are changing things to make it better. From what I have seen so far, I think they are going to make it better for the drivers and the fans. It may not be better the first year from a racing stand point, because we all know that new pavement doesn't always put out the best race but I think the changes to the track on the long haul are going to be better, just like we saw at Atlanta. "

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM THE NEW MONTE CARLO SS AT CALIFORNIA? "I think it is going to be a good car for us. They made a bunch of changes. They changed everything they could this year. From everything we have seen in the wind tunnel, it has better numbers and I think this is where it is really going to show its potential. The straightaways are so long here that you still have to be mindful of the drag but downforce is critical here and I think the new Monte Carlo SS is going to help us with that.

-gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Brian Vickers , Mike Helton
Teams Hendrick Motorsports