Brian Vickers better give up his hopes of being invited back to Hendrick Motorsports team meetings. Vickers was running third on the last lap at Talladega Superspeedway when he bump-drafted teammate Jimmie Johnson (who was running second) right...
Brian Vickers better give up his hopes of being invited back to Hendrick Motorsports team meetings.
Vickers was running third on the last lap at Talladega Superspeedway when he bump-drafted teammate Jimmie Johnson (who was running second) right into leader Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s rear bumper causing them both to spin; allowing Vickers to pass for the win.
"It's pretty exiting to get our first win," said Vickers. "Not quite exactly how I planned it but Jimmie (Johnson) had a heck of a run and I was pushing him and then when he turned down I got off of him. Then when he turned down to pass the No. 8, the No. 8 kept pushing down and when he jerked to avoid the No. 8 trying to block him, I just got into him.
"I apologize, that is the last thing I want to do is to get into Jimmie but when the No. 8 chopped him and Jimmie swerved, I just got into him."
It is Vickers first career Cup series victory and will more than likely be his only win with team the No. 25 Hendrick Chevy team. He is vacating that seat at the end of the season to pilot a Toyota for Team Red Bull.
Vickers was told two weeks ago that he was no longer allowed in Hendrick team meetings since he was departing that organization at year's end. Wrecking his teammate (Johnson), who is competing for the series title, may get him banned from the Hendrick employee lunch room as well.
As the dust cloud bubbled as the No. 48 and No. 8 spun the drivers that navigated through scored better finishes than hoped just one turn before. Kasey Kahne emerged second.
"For me I was right behind it," explained Kahne. "It looked like those guys were waiting, kinda ganging up on the 8. The 25 was pushing, gave him (48) a great run. He was pushing him by. It was hard to tell who went which way, but it kinda looked like the 25 went down to get behind the 48 and keep pushing him and he was already a little bit up on his right rear corner there and actually kinda hooked him and turned him into the 8 from where I was. I was also racing, trying to miss all that stuff, so I could be a little wrong."
Kurt Busch was third, "It was a good race for our team and working together with other cars out on the track. Overall it was a successful. Any time you get to come to the media center after a race at Talladega is a good thing. For us to have a top three finish is something where we have to give the credit to the fab shop and body shop, all the guys who build these speedway cars."
Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex, Jr. complete the top five.
"It was a good point's day," said Kenseth. "The car felt good most of the day and we were able to get out front and stay ahead of most of the wrecks. I thought we were going to have a shot at it, but we got shuffled back there and we didn't have a drafting partner to pull out of line at the end."
Despite a mostly clean, calm race the big one could not be avoided breaking out on lap 138 involving three of the Chase contenders: Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. Hamlin and Harvick were able to make repairs on pit road but Gordon had to take his limping No. 24 Chevrolet behind the wall for more extensive repairs.
Non-Chase drivers caught up in the melee were Carl Edwards, Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex, Jr., Greg Biffle, Elliott Sadler, Jeff Green and Kyle Petty.
The second multi-car crash happened on lap 174 involving Tony Stewart, Paul Menard, JJ Yeley, David Stremme, Michael Waltrip and Denny Hamlin.
All-in-all there was five cautions for 25 laps and 62 lead changes among 23 drivers.
With 10 to go, the championship leader Jeff Burton was forced to pit under green with a flat left tire forcing him into a 27th place finish. He manages to hold onto the series lead by just six points over Matt Kenseth. Mark Martin (-10), Kevin Harvick (-33), Denny Hamlin (-51), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (-106), Jeff Gordon (-147), Jimmie Johnson (-156), Kasey Kahne (-185) and Kyle Busch (-185) complete the top ten.