NO SLEEP TILL BROOKLYN A brand new Red Bull Toyota carried Brian Vickers to a fifth-place finish in last month's 600. The car was so strong - dominating long green-flag runs and leading 33 laps - the No. 83 team wanted another new piece for ...
NO SLEEP TILL BROOKLYN
A brand new Red Bull Toyota carried Brian Vickers to a fifth-place finish in last month's 600. The car was so strong - dominating long green-flag runs and leading 33 laps - the No. 83 team wanted another new piece for Michigan.
Crew chief Ryan Pemberton got his wish, and in a mere nine days, Red Bull Racing's manufacturing team stayed late, arrived early and churned out the latest edition of the 200 series. Chassis No. 225 will meet Michigan's wide, sweeping surface for the first time in Friday's opening practice.
"We loved the car. Brian loved the car. He ran great at Charlotte (right)," Pemberton said. "We asked for a new car for Michigan on short notice. And got it."
Driver and car should hit it off early, because Vickers already has a knack for getting around 2-mile Michigan.
Vickers earned the pole in last season's fall race, Red Bull Racing Team's first pole since joining Sprint Cup competition in 2007. He has three top-10 finishes in his past three starts, including fourth in this race last year. In 10 career starts, he has one top five and five top 10s.
And driver No. 83 has led- you guessed it- 83 laps.
"Michigan's a great track with some really fun racing," Vickers said. "I like the fact that it's wall-to-wall racing. You can run in several different grooves so you can race just about anywhere you want and it's easy to pass, which makes for a good race for both the drivers and the fans. I've had some pretty good runs there in the past, and I expect much of the same this weekend."
The LifeLock 400 is the perfect race for the No. 83 team to shake off consecutive disappointing finishes. Vickers finished 25th on May 31 at Dover and 21st on Sunday at Pocono. Still, he ranks 17th in the Sprint Cup standings- 143 points from the top 12 with the Chase only 12 races away.
LOCKED AND LOADED
Broken valve spring at Dover and ill-handling car at Pocono aside, Scott Speed has reason for optimism entering Michigan. The No. 82 team made significant strides in its intermediate-track program last month at Charlotte, where Speed finished 18th and noted that "it's amazing how you can run anywhere you want on the track when your car is good."
"I feel confident going into Michigan. Our cars in the past have been good at those kind of places," Speed said. "We were good at Charlotte, and it should be similar to that. I will say we have more ammunition going into it, as far as if what we bring there doesn't work we have a good backup plan. We have ideas, a good baseline."
While the LifeLock 400 weekend is Speed's first crack at Michigan in a Sprint Cup car, he has two previous starts there. On back-to-back days last June, Speed started first and finish fourth in the ARCA race and 24 hours later started fifth and finished third in the Camping World Truck event. He led 31 laps in the two races combined.
Speed's No. 82 Red Bull Toyota has 41 points to make up on the top 35.