Maybe Brian Vickers did it on purpose. Maybe he didn't. Ultimately the result was the same: the unmitigated hatred of the NASCAR nation and the two wrecked race cars of Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. The malice is so deep in race fans ...
Maybe Brian Vickers did it on purpose. Maybe he didn't. Ultimately the result was the same: the unmitigated hatred of the NASCAR nation and the two wrecked race cars of Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
The malice is so deep in race fans hearts (particularly those in red Bud t- shirts) that Lowe's Motor Speedway announced earlier this week that they would add an extra security detail to Vickers this weekend; in the event that angry race fans may try and seek retribution by knocking him upside the head.
"It's crazy," said Johnson. "Our fans stick to their driver and support their guys, but I find that hard to believe that's the situation or that extra security is even needed. There might be some boos and stuff like that, but as far as needing security or anything like that, I think it's kind of crazy."
He might think it's crazy but some of Johnson's comments about the incident may merit Hendrick Motorsports adding a bodyguard to keep Driver 48 away from the No. 25 hauler this weekend.
"I think it was pretty obvious he was trying to get down behind me," said Johnson. "He just misjudged where his bumper was. When he pulled down to get in behind me, he was alongside of me by a few inches. I got a message from him. But that was about it. I don't really have much to say or much to talk to him about."
Vickers lost a lot of friends when he decided to vacate the No. 25 team at the end of the season for Red Bull Racing but he's pretty much a wallflower now at Hendrick after wrecking his championship contending teammate at Talladega.
Whether it was with purposeful intent or not. While his explanation post race was explanatory it lacked sincerity, "What happened, happened. It wasn't intentional. It's definitely going to be mixed emotions for me being my first win, but also with what happened with Jimmie and how he is my friend and being a teammate as well. But what is done is done. And now we've just got to enjoy our victory."
Johnson has cooled a bit since Sunday at Talladega where he had nothing but bile to spew about Vickers echoing the comments of crew chief Chad Knaus who bitterly stated post race that he felt like it wasn't "bad judgment" on Vickers half but a "lack of talent".
The sad part for Vickers is two-fold: His only other win came in the Nextel Open in 2005 when he punted Mike Bliss out of the way in the last turn of the final lap to win and advance to compete in the All-Star Race.
Does that make his winning stratagem a pattern? Two bumps. Two wins. You do the math.
And forget about being kicked out of team meetings at Hendrick he's officially the odd-man out at HMS; methinks you won't see Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch or Johnson give him an inch of slack the rest of the season.
That is going to hurt Vickers come Speedweeks 2007. The teammate yet to be known for the second Red Bull car is more than likely not going to be a big- name racer (the pool of available talent is thin) and both of those cars will need to make the show on speed. If they get in, they are going to need partners in the draft - what better draft partners than Team 24 and Team 48?
You can bet now that they'll give the mighty finger out the window before they give Vickers' bumper one love tap. Unless it's a love tap that send him off the track, through the grass and parked in the garage.
Because paybacks are a bitch.