+ TWO DAYS OF TESTING Brian Vickers has slipped, slid and saved it around Lowe's Motor Speedway in nine Sprint Cup races. Mike Skinner's total (15) nearly doubles that. Scott Speed, however, has tackled the 1.5-mile track only once - and that...
+ TWO DAYS OF TESTING
Brian Vickers has slipped, slid and saved it around Lowe's Motor Speedway in nine Sprint Cup races. Mike Skinner's total (15) nearly doubles that.
Scott Speed, however, has tackled the 1.5-mile track only once - and that start came in a Craftsman Truck race, not in NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow and certainly not against Cup's caliber of talent.
"I'm playing catch-up here," Speed said Tuesday. "There's absolutely no substitute for experience. In a series like this, where everyone's got so much of it and you're coming in with so little, every week I'm out racing or driving, it's really quite helpful."
The ARCA points leader and part-time trucker is testing the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota for two days. He was second fastest in Tuesday's evening session, turning a lap at 184.881 mph. Mike Skinner, called upon to drive the No. 84, and Brian Vickers' No. 83 were 13th and 16th, respectively, under the lights, which comes close to the conditions cars will encounter in the Oct. 11 Bank of America 500.
"This car moves around a lot less," Speed said. "Everything is done right on these things. The steering box, the pedal box - everything is really precise. It makes it actually easier for me to feel the car and the changes. So far, it's been an easy transition."
+ SO LONG, DOVER
Broken track bar mounts doomed the Red Bull Toyotas at Dover.
Running fourth just before halfway Sunday, AJ Allmendinger hung on to finish 16th as the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota grew tighter in the second half of the race. His sixth top-20 finish in the past 10 races moved the No. 84 up two spots to 34th in the car owner standings.
Allmendinger will drive the No. 84 at Kansas. He was released from his 2009 contract with Red Bull Racing Team on Tuesday.
Brian Vickers' No. 83 suffered much of the same fate at Dover. He battled grip issues and finished 31st, dropping one spot in points to 17th. In three Kansas starts, Vickers owns finishes of 19th, 11th and eighth.
+ WRESTLING WITH RUBBER
He's a native Kansan, but Aaron Schields' hometown of Goodland may as well be a world away from Kansas City. The No. 83 tire carrier says there's little to Goodland, a small town seven hours to the west, other than farming, football and wrestling.
The latter he was exceptional at. He won four state titles in the Kansas Kids youth program and then took 4A state championships his junior (145 pounds) and senior years (152).
"It's the most challenging sport mentally and physically," said Schields, 27. "I kind of conquered all of that when I was younger. It teaches self-discipline."
Wrestling translates well on pit road, too. A tire and rim weigh some 70 pounds.
"There's more strength involved carrying tires," he said. "But there's also lots of balance and agility, quick and explosive moves."
+ EYE ON THE TIGERS
Jay Frye, the team's vice president and general manager, is reliving the glory days on the gridiron as his Missouri Tigers find themselves in the national championship hunt. Frye played tight end for four seasons (1983-86) at Missouri and wore No. 83.
"I still follow the team religiously," Frye said. "They're ranked fifth right now and doing great, so they're a lot of fun to watch. Our racing schedule unfortunately doesn't allow for me to get to their games very often, but they're playing Baylor in a few weeks when we're racing in Texas, so I'm going to try and make it out to that game."
If you're keeping score, the 4-0 Tigers don't play until an Oct. 4 trip to Nebraska.