VICKERS AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM SALVAGE A TOP-10 FINISH AT TALLADEGA AFTER BEING CAUGHT IN LAST-LAP ACCIDENT TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 26, 2010) -- For the second consecutive weekend, inclement weather forced a doubleheader NASCAR line-up. On...
VICKERS AND THE DOLLAR GENERAL TEAM SALVAGE A TOP-10 FINISH AT TALLADEGA AFTER BEING CAUGHT IN LAST-LAP ACCIDENT
TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 26, 2010) -- For the second consecutive weekend, inclement weather forced a doubleheader NASCAR line-up. On Sunday afternoon, immediately following the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, Nationwide Series (NNS) teams hurried to line up on the starting grid for the Aaron's 312. Brian Vickers drove the No. 32 from his 25th starting position towards the front of the field. Poised to capture a top-five, he was collected in the final caution of the evening. Able to restart the Dollar General Toyota and cross the start-finish line, Vickers was credited with a ninth-place finish and claimed his fourth top-10 in four NNS starts this season.
Fans and race teams alike paid close attention to local and national weather broadcasts on Friday night as threatening weather was making its way towards Alabama. NASCAR also monitored the situation closely and made the call on Saturday morning to cancel all track activity for the day, forcing the postponement of the Nationwide Series race for the second consecutive week. The race was rescheduled to start approximately one hour following the conclusion of Sunday's Sprint Cup event. Early Sunday evening and under sunny skies, Vickers made the mad dash to the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota and began his second race of the day.
As teams approached the competition caution that was scheduled by NASCAR, the yellow flag was brought out by a multi-car accident occurring just behind the No. 32 on lap 20.
"Wrecking behind you," spotter, Chris Lambert, called out. "Big wreck behind you. Keep driving, keep driving, watch your back!"
Vickers reported that he had not been hit by the spinning cars. Running in the 19th position, he took the opportunity to talk with Owens about the first 20 laps.
"The car feels good, I just haven't found anyone to hook up with and get to the front," said Vickers. "First chance we get with a good drafter, we'll make a move."
He added, "I'm running a little hot in the draft. I haven't bump drafted yet so I'm a little concerned about the nose of the car. How would you feel about taking off some of the tape?"
Crew chief Trent Owens replied, "We'll take a quarter inch of tape off the grill. That shouldn't disrupt the handling much."
Vickers brought the No. 32 Toyota to pit road on lap 25 for service and adjustments. The Dollar General team changed four tires, packed the car with fuel and removed a strip of tape from the front grill. The flawless stop by the crew gained Vickers two spots and put the No. 32 in the seventh spot for the restart on lap 29.
Lined up in single file and on the inside, Vickers continued to drive the Dollar General Toyota forward, breaking into the top-five on lap 36. The outside line began to form and pull ahead. As cars scrambled for position and to find drafting partners, Vickers found himself in the middle of a three-wide battle and running in the 10th position. He was shuffled back to the 19th spot but found help with the No. 98 and No. 16 cars, pulling into the 11th position when the next caution of the day was brought out by a spinning car on lap 47.
"We're still running a little warm in the draft," Vickers reported. "The water temperature is averaging about 240 to 250 degrees."
Owens called Vickers to pit road on lap 49, instructing the team to change four tires, add fuel and remove more tape from the grill. Despite some teams taking two tires, the team's quick service returned the Dollar General Toyota to the racetrack in the 12th spot. Unfortunately, NASCAR officials assessed the No. 32 team a penalty for speeding off of pit road, forcing Vickers to restart from the tail end of the longest line, in the 30th spot. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 51.
Vickers did not remain in the back for long, drafting his way into the top-10 by lap 60. As cars raced side-by-side around the superspeedway, he drove hard and advanced the Dollar General Camry as high as the fifth spot before coming to pit road on lap 93, making his next pit stop under green-flag conditions. The team quickly changed two-tires, added fuel and removed more tape. As the field cycled through the green-flag stops, the Dollar General Toyota was returned to the seventh spot by lap 96.
On lap 105, Vickers asked, "Are there any good cars running on the top?"
"No," replied Lambert. "The No. 12 and No. 98 just fell back in line. Everyone's single file right now and no one has been able to work the top and get anywhere."
Vickers waited just a little longer and then moved the No. 32 to the high side of the race track. He led the charge around the top with cars helping to push from behind. With double-file lines running around the superspeedway, Vickers was driving in the fourth spot when a multi-car accident on the front stretch brought out the third caution of the day, setting the stage for a green-white-checkered finish.
Green-flag racing resumed on lap 119. Vickers held off challengers from behind, maintaining the fourth position. As the field barreled down the front-stretch to take the checkered flag, cars began bouncing off one another, resulting in a huge pile of wreckage. The No. 32 found itself spinning; however as he came to a stop, Vickers restarted the car and drove the Dollar General Toyota across the finish line for a ninth-place finish.
"We had a good car today here at Talladega Superspeedway," said Vickers following the extended Aaron's 312. "The Dollar General guys had solid pit stops and we just worked to run a smart race. We were right there at the end and could have been a contender for the win in the last few laps. Somebody wrecked the No. 21 and we just got caught up in it. It was just another big pile-up there at the end and we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fortunately we were able to still able to leave here with a top-10."
Reed Sorenson returns to drive the Dollar General Camry in next weekend's Bubba Burger 250 at Richmond International Raceway.
Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Richmond International Raceway for the Bubba Burger 250.
-source: braun racing