CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 17, 2003) --MB2 Motorsports announced that arrangements have been completed to have Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Busch Series standout, Brian Vickers, drive the No. 01 U.S. Army/MB2 Pontiac in the final four races of the 2003...
CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 17, 2003) --MB2 Motorsports announced that arrangements have been completed to have Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Busch Series standout, Brian Vickers, drive the No. 01 U.S. Army/MB2 Pontiac in the final four races of the 2003 Winston Cup season.
The 19-year-old native of Thomasville, N.C. will be subbing for Jerry Nadeau, who is recovering from injuries sustained in a May 2 accident at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.J
The U.S. Army/MB2 ride will be an experience-builder for Vickers, who will join NASCAR's Cup Series on a full-time basis next season, driving the No. 25 GMAC Hendrick Motorsports entry.
"Having the opportunity to gain Winston Cup experience with an established team like MB2 is really exciting," said Vickers, who is currently in second place in the Busch Series point standings. "The team has a great sponsor in the U.S. Army and the cars have Hendrick Motorsports engines under the hood, so it's a great situation."
Mike Skinner, who joined MB2 Motorsports in early August, will continue as the team's substitute driver through the Oct. 19 race in Martinsville, Va.
"Mike continues to give us a great effort and we all sincerely appreciate the experience and professionalism that he has brought to our team," said Jay Frye, general manager of MB2 Motorsports. "When we hired Mike, the understanding was it would most likely be for a limited schedule. Proactive discussions were already in progress with Hendrick Motorsports to have Brian drive the U.S. Army car in the event Jerry was not ready to return for the closing races of the season."
Frye added, "We have a great working relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and its engine department and we're happy to assist in Brian's transition to the Cup Series."
In an ironic twist, this is the second time MB2 Motorsports has assisted in giving seat time to a future Hendrick Motorsports Cup driver. When MB2 driver Ernie Irvan retired with 13 races remaining in the 1999 season, he was replaced for 12 of the races by Nadeau, who had already struck a deal to drive Hendrick's No. 25 car for the following season.
"Our organization has enjoyed a strong relationship with MB2 Motorsports over the years," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "I'm appreciative of the opportunity they've given Brian and we're all looking forward to seeing him compete at the Winston Cup level this year."
* The four Winston Cup races Vickers will drive the U.S. Army car in are: Atlanta (Oct. 26), Phoenix (Nov. 2), Rockingham, N.C. (Nov. 9) and Homestead, Fla. (Nov. 16). The four events will be double-duty weekends for Vickers, who will also be competing in the Busch Series races.
* With eight races remaining in the Busch Series schedule, Vickers trails series leader, David Green, by a mere 48 points. In 26 Busch starts this season, Vickers has driven his No. 5 GMAC Chevrolet to a pair of victories (Indianapolis and Darlington) and to nine top-five and 16 top-10 finishes.
* This is Vickers' first full season competing in the Busch Series. The past two years he competed on a limited schedule -- four starts in 2001 and 21 starts in 2002.
* Vickers' Busch ride last year was associated with the U.S. Army in 10 events through a relationship with the Army's National Automotive Center (NAC).