Red Bull Racing Team had its best collective effort in its two-year existence Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Brian Vickers, in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, qualified 15th and finished second after leading 18 laps. In the No. 84 was teammate AJ ...
Red Bull Racing Team had its best collective effort in its two-year existence Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Brian Vickers, in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, qualified 15th and finished second after leading 18 laps. In the No. 84 was teammate AJ Allmendinger, who timed in eighth and ended up 12th for the best finish of his Sprint Cup career.
Now, the trick is doing it all over again. And again. And again.
"You just keep building on that," said Elton Sawyer, the team's competition director. "It's not an on-off switch. You don't just flip it. Once you have it, you try to keep that going. You try to do the same thing that got you to that point."
After earning the team's best finish ever, Brian sits 17th in the driver standings 112 points out of the Chase's 12th and final berth. AJ's No. 84 gained 63 points on the top 35 and is 37th in owner points 140 below the Mendoza Line.
Dads were a big part in the driving development of Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger. With Father's Day not far off, the two drivers have made sure everyone knows who helped get them to the Sprint Cup level.
Brian's skill showed at an early age first in karts, then Allison Legacy cars, then late model stocks and into his days in the Hooters Pro Cup Series. In 2001, Brian debuted in the Nationwide Series and in 2002 made 21 starts as the only rookie driver with an independent team, driving father Clyde's No. 40.
"My dad is crucial to where I'm at, and my dad was big part of what got me here," Brian said. "He always encouraged me, always wanted me to do whatever made me happy. My mom always wanted me to win. My dad always made me earn it. He made me want to win very badly."
Greg Allmendinger, a former racer, first noticed AJ caught the fever at the ripe old age of two. But it wasn't easy financing his son's pursuit to be a professional racer. To keep AJ's dream alive, Greg and Karen Allmendinger mortgaged their suburban San Jose, Calif., home on three occasions, each time taking away some $30,000.
"Where I'm at is because of him," AJ said. "He was racing before I was ever born. I was at the race track every night watching him race. I was watching him race local dirt tracks. I got the passion and thrill of victory from him. Basically, everything I am is because of my dad. It's quite simple I wouldn't be doing any of this if it weren't for him."
At least Scott Speed doesn't have to jet set halfway across the country to compete in two events this weekend. He'll drive in Friday's ARCA race at Michigan, followed by a Saturday run in the Craftsman Truck Series at the same 2-mile track.
Scott started from the pole in Eddie Sharp Racing's No. 2 Red Bull Toyota, led the most laps and finished second in Saturday's ARCA race at Pocono. He moved to third in the championship standings 100 points behind leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. A night earlier at Texas, Scott, in Bill Davis Racing's No. 22 Red Bull Toyota, finished 27th after crashing during a late-race fight for the 10th position.
In the closing stages of the Pocono 500, crew chief Kevin Hamlin opted not to pit during a lap 178 caution period. The No. 83 stayed out, and on older tires maintained the lead until Kasey Kahne passed Brian Vickers with 15 laps to go. Still, the No. 83 finished second and earned Red Bull Racing Team's best finish. The quick thinking and strategy gave Hamlin the title of WYPALL Wipers crew chief of the race.
"Kevin made all the right calls," Brian admitted, "and it paid off with the team's best finish. He, and we, deserve it."
Kevin earned a cool $1,000 upon his return to Michigan. He's from Kalamazoo a mere 80 miles from Brooklyn.
Kevin leads Red Bull Racing Team's strong race-day contingent from the Wolverine State. AJ's spotter, former driver Tim Fedewa, hails from Holt. And over-the-wall crewmen Jake Brzozowski (rear tire carrier, No. 83) and Andrew Turner (jackman, No. 84) are natives of Sterling Heights and Coloma, respectively.
The thought crossed AJ Allmendinger's mind during the sweltering final 50 laps of the Pocono 500. But AJ, as he put it, manned up and didn't "yak."
"When you're that hot, it's not even about training or being in shape. But I almost vomited in my helmet," AJ said. "It's more about will. We were running well up front, and I wanted a good finish. That's where the focus was. If we were laps down in 30th, it would have been even tougher to focus. But at that point, you're so tired the will kicks in. It's just how bad you want it. It wasn't about being cool anymore."