Michigan: Pole winner interview

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Starting Position: 1st How was your qualifying lap? "It was a really good lap -- it was faster than we put down last year and I didn't think we were going to be able to beat...

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team
Starting Position: 1st

How was your qualifying lap?

"It was a really good lap -- it was faster than we put down last year and I didn't think we were going to be able to beat what we ran last year. Last year, was probably even a little better lap. I was really happy with the car in practice. The guys did a tremendous job. We went to go get a little more out of it and made it better on the exit, which made it better off (the corner). I don't know if we hurt the center a little bit. I got a little tight in the center of (turns) one and two when I got back in the gas. I don't think it hurt us too much. I was able to get wide open and stay in it."

How important is qualifying now with the double-file restarts?

"I think qualifying is still more about pit stall selection than anything else. The double-file restarts, if anything, help. Track position is still very important, but it's not as important. I think you can make up track position better now that everybody is stacked up a little closer."

Do you feel like your team is making gains every weekend?

"I think we're making gains -- we've been making gains all year. We've been making gains since this team founded. There are times when we made huge gains and times when the gains have been slow. There's been times when we've taken a few steps back, but for the most part we've always taken more steps forward. Really proud of the progression of this Red Bull team. We've come so far in such a few amount of years and hopefully we can keep going."

How does it feel to win the pole for Sunday's race?

"It always feels good to be the fastest driver in this series on any given day. It's a challenge to say the least. This is the most competitive racing series in the world, definitely here in the U.S. From the drivers to the teams, top to bottom. Sitting on the pole is no easy accomplishment. The Red Bull guys did a great job. We had an unbelievable car from when we unloaded. Last year, when we sat on the pole, literally after lap one we just put a cover on it and didn't even touch it because it was that great. Today, we had a good car, but we did have to work on it. We had to make a lot of adjustments during practice. By the end of practice we were really happy with the car and the final lap in practice I told the guys before I even crossed the line, 'I can't ask anything else out of you, it's up to me.' We were either going to be on the pole or I was going to mess it up, but the car was great. I'm glad I didn't mess up because I pretty much put it all on myself. I told them I couldn't ask anything else out of the car, but they gave me a great car."

How does it feel to be in a Toyota and win the pole in Michigan?

"That's a great question and probably better for Toyota. It may mean a lot to them, it may not. Personally, I didn't grow up in the Detroit generation -- I grew up in a national and international generation. To me, I see multi-national conglomerates that do business all around the world and it's very difficult to distinguish where their headquarters really is. Probably the only person that can distinguish where any company's headquarters is these days is whoever is collecting taxes. I can assure you that 'Uncle Sam' knows where their headquarters is. Toyota, in a lot of eyes and to me with what I've learned about them, they are as much of an American car company as anyone. They have been over the years and the Toyota Camry is the only car in the sport right now that's built in the U.S. I don't really think about it that much and I have received that question several times so it's not an uncommon question. It's probably a good question for Toyota. It probably bothers the 'Big Three' more than Toyota really cares. I think a pole for them anywhere is special -- I know it is for me."

What will it take to convert this pole into a win on Sunday?

"We've had the poles and we've had the fast cars. We had the car to win here last year, right up to the very end of the race we thought we put ourselves in a great position. Late caution came and we got put back several positions under the last caution. Later, NASCAR admitted they made a mistake in the ordering that cost us the race. We did all we could. Charlotte, there again we did all we could, we had the car to win and the rain just came at the wrong time. Granted there's a lot of races this year where we could have done better. Hopefully we can do our part again Sunday -- have the best car, make all the right decisions and beyond that we're just going to have to get some luck. I hate to always be the driver to just put it always off on luck, but it seems like every time we have the car to win, something happens that is out of our control. Hopefully we can do our part and whatever else happens, happens."

How much of a role does confidence play at Michigan for you?

"Confidence I think is important in anything you do. I was told from a very young age that cocky is inappropriate and that's always been instilled in me from my parents. There's a fine line there. I think internally, you have to have a certain amount of confidence in anything you do. It doesn't matter if you're a sports writer or a race car driver. You have to believe that you can do what you're doing. It definitely helps when you go to a race track that you know and you feel like you have history there and you've run well. It takes more than that. Pocono, last week, wasn't one of our best races and historically its been one of the best. I've had a lot of top-fives there and its one of my best tracks on the circuit -- last week it wasn't. Just because its been good in the past doesn't guarantee anything. You still have to work hard for it and all the pieces have to be put in place and everybody has to do their part."

What was it like to make a pit stop in Times Square last week?

"We just decided to do a pit stop in Times Square -- why not? It was fun -- it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. New York City is an amazing city -- to have the opportunity to do a pit stop in Times Square is pretty incredible. I think it generated a lot of press for the sport, for the city and it was fun."

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Teams Red Bull Racing