ENTRIES: Red Bull No. 82 Scott Speed, Red Bull No. 83 Brian Vickers and Red Bull No. 84 Mike Skinner RACE: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, "Bank of America 500" TRACK: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, NC DATES: October 9-11, 2008 + BACK OFF, MOTHER...
RACE: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, "Bank of America 500"
TRACK: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, NC
DATES: October 9-11, 2008
+ BACK OFF, MOTHER NATURE!!!
Scott Speed hopes to make his Sprint Cup debut at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He must qualify on time Thursday to race Saturday night. He posted a speed in last month's test session that would easily put him in the show.
The hurdle, however, is rain -- and lots of it is planned for metro Charlotte this weekend, especially during qualifying Thursday night.
"Yes," Speed said while returning from a Goodyear tire test at Indianapolis, "it would suck if we got rained out. No other way to put it. I would be bummed, to say the least."
Weather permitting, Speed will practice and qualify the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota, hoping to earn a starting spot in the Bank of America 500. In the recent test at 1.5-mile LMS, Speed was second fastest in both evening sessions.
"We expect to qualify pretty well," he said, "assuming we even get to qualify with all of the rain that's coming in."
Randy Cox, who oversees the research and development side of Red Bull Racing Team, will serve as Speed's crew chief this weekend, and Craftsman Truck personnel from Bill Davis Racing will pit the car. Speed will then take over the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota for the final five races of the season.
"This is a very positive situation," said Elton Sawyer, the team's director of competition. "We're only adding to what we're doing with the 83 and 84. Randy Cox and the R&D team have done a tremendous amount of testing for us. That's a very talented group and we feel confident that they'll compete. It's a big challenge, and our first goal is to get Scott qualified."
+ RECAPPING THE RED BULLS
Brian Vickers blew a right-front tire on lap 68 at Talladega Superspeedway, an incident that collected eight other cars including Mike Skinner's No. 84. Skinner finished 31st; Vickers 35th. That's all we have to say about that.
But there's always Charlotte, where Vickers has led 137 laps in his past two starts. The No. 83 lost a left-rear wheel while dominating the early stages of May's 600-miler.
"We had a car that could win the race there. We didn't accomplish it," said Vickers, who's from nearby Thomasville, N.C. "That's the most frustrating part because you don't have those cars every often. We had a decent test (in September), and hopefully we can have another really good race -- and keep all the wheels on it and finish the thing."
Vickers also will drive the No. 32 for Braun Racing in Friday night's Nationwide Series race.
+ IS TOLEDO TITLE TOWN?
One race remains in the ARCA RE/MAX Series season, with Scott Speed holding an 85-point lead over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Nothing, however, is guaranteed at the short track in Toledo, Ohio.
Speed finished sixth in the season's first visit to the half-mile oval.
"If someone doesn't crash us or we don't break, we should be able to walk away with (the championship)," Speed said. He'll bounce back and forth from Charlotte to Toledo. After ARCA qualifying Saturday, he'll be cutting it close on the return trip to Concord Regional Airport and the Sprint Cup driver's meeting.
"It's the craziest weekend of racing in my life," he said.
Speed finished 23rd in Friday's ARCA race at Talladega. He blew a right-rear tire, sending the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota crashing and behind the wall for repairs. But the Eddie Sharp Racing crew worked quickly to get Speed back on track.
"That's a part of racing that I've never experienced before -- crashing the car and bringing it behind the wall and 10 guys thrashing on it to get it back on the track. It was really strange, but really cool," he said.
The next day, Speed finished 15th in the Craftsman Truck Series, where he'll run the rest of the season in Bill Davis Racing's No. 22 Red Bull Toyota.
+ FREE QUOTES
Red Bull Racing Team's Brian Vickers and Mike Skinner on the latest addition to the Sprint Cup field, Scott Speed:
Brian Vickers, driver, No. 83: "It's a very competitive series with difficult cars to drive. Your first year, your rookie year, there are going to be times when you're going to go really good. Just because you don't know any better. Sometimes that's a positive, not knowing the dangers ahead. You're more apt to drive harder until you find that edge. Sometimes that equates to speed, but also creates a lot problems and you can get yourself in a situation you can't get out of, cause a lot of wrecks and problems for your peers around you. The most important thing is to proceed with caution and patience and try to build respect the garage. That will go a long ways long-term. Just going out there and driving over your head and causing problems and wrecks that's going to earn a lot of respect."
Mike Skinner, driver, No. 84: "He's a really funny guy. He acts so goofy on the outside. But when he puts on that helmet and gets in that race car, he does a great job. He gives good feedback, and I think the kid's got a bright future. Red Bull is really, really high on him. Heck, he's already won in ARCA few times, he's won in the truck series, he was second-fastest at the Charlotte test. I hope to be his friend for a long time and help him any way I can."
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