NASCAR ENTERS ITS OWN MONTH OF MAY Nine races down, 27 to go. The Sprint Cup Series has reached the quarter pole in the 2010 season. Up next: two tough tracks in Richmond and Darlington before a two-week home stand in Charlotte. 82 . SCOTT ...
NASCAR ENTERS ITS OWN MONTH OF MAY
Nine races down, 27 to go. The Sprint Cup Series has reached the quarter pole in the 2010 season. Up next: two tough tracks in Richmond and Darlington before a two-week home stand in Charlotte.
82 . SCOTT SPEED
KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON: Speed was in ride-in-the-back-and-play-it- safe mode before he planned to mix it up and make a move toward the front Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. But on lap 182, what always seems to happen in the closing laps at Talladega happened to Speed. A couple of cars crashed on the top and into Speed's No. 82 Red Bull Toyota on the bottom. Quick work by the crew kept Speed on the lead lap in 28th, and he managed to steer clear of any incidents in the 12-lap overtime. He finished 15th - his fifth top 20 in 2010.
THIRD-TIMER AT RIR: Speed doesn't have much of a history at the .75-mile, D-shaped oval called Richmond International Raceway. He's made two starts in the Sprint Cup car, with finishes of 33rd and 36th. He also drove in two Nationwide races in 2009, earning a 10th-place finish in September.
IN THE POINTS: Ranks 21st - 133 points out of the top 12.
STAT THAT MATTERS: In the season's nine races, Speed has five lead-lap finishes. He had only six in his entire rookie season of 2009.
83 . BRIAN VICKERS
CAN'T BUY A BREAK: The way the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota was running at Talladega, Vickers was clearly in contention to earn the third victory of his Sprint Cup career and second at Talladega. He led four times for 13 laps, but it went for naught as Vickers got caught up in a nine- car accident during the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. With heavy damage to the right side and nose, Vickers remained on the lead lap but later radioed "we are blowing up, guys." The engine quit, and the car stopped on the apron in turn one. A wrecker pushed Vickers back to the garage. He finished 29th.
NOT ALWAYS ABOUT NUMBERS: Statistically, Richmond is one of Vickers' worst tracks. In 11 starts, he's finished 15th or better only three times. In the other eight races, he's finished 24th or worse. But NASCAR is a what-have- you-done-for-me-lately sport, and Vickers certainly got it done last fall at Richmond. Needing the race of his life, Vickers charged to a seventh-place finish to earn the 12th and final spot in the Chase.
IN THE POINTS: Ranks 25th - 166 points out of the top 12.
STAT THAT MATTERS: Vickers holds two track qualifying records. One is Texas. The other is Richmond, where on May 14, 2004 he turned a lap at 129.983 mph to earn the first pole of his career. He since has won 10 more, including six last season.