By Red Bull Racing Team
Dumped Twice In One Day
Red Bull Racing Team finally turned right Sunday, thinking it’d be a successful stroll around an undulating road course tucked in the hills of northern California wine country.
And why not? Both Red Bull Toyotas started in the top 10, and Kasey Kahne had won a Sprint Cup Series race at the 1.99-mile Infineon Raceway once before. Not so fast, however. Rather than a NASCAR race, a Punt, Pass and Kick competition broke out.
First, it was Tony Stewart who dumped Brian Vickers on lap 37. As they approached turn 11, Vickers took evasive maneuvers to the inside lane as Kyle Busch’s car came out of the dust and back on course. Stewart mistook that for blocking, so he shoved — later admitting he did it intentionally — Vickers’ No. 83 Red Bull Toyota into the hairpin turn’s tire stacks.
The result was big-time left-front damage to the No. 83. But as they say, paybacks are a … well, you’ve heard that one before. Fifty laps later, a perturbed Vickers shoved Stewart’s car into stacks of tires in nearly the same spot. Radiator issues sent Vickers to the garage, and he returned for a brief moment to finish 36th.
“I wasn’t blocking him. That may have been his perception where he was sitting,” Vickers said of Stewart. “The 18 (Busch) went off the race track in front of me — he was flying through the dirt. He was coming back on the race track and I was trying to avoid him. It’s pretty early in the race to worry about blocking someone or wrecking someone. He made his bed at that moment and he had to sleep in it.
“He wrecked me and I wrecked him.”
It’s all good, Vickers added.
“He made his move and I addressed it. That’s the end of the discussion,” he said. “The way I see it, we’re all square. I’m sure we’ll talk. Tony and I have been friends for a long time.”
Not too far from the finish, Juan Pablo Montoya dumped Kahne.
Running fourth at the time, Kahne made his way up the hill to set up the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota for the course’s first right-hand turn. Montoya, apparently, didn’t realize there was a turn and proceeded to drive straight through Kahne’s car. Kahne went off course, and Montoya’s out-of-control car got pointed straight only because it banged into Red Bull blue.
Kahne went from a top five to finish 20th.