+ SPEED, VICKERS READY TO GET DRAFTED From the Lone Star State to the Heart of Dixie we go. 82. SCOTT SPEED DEBBIE DOES GOOD: In Monday's rain-delayed race at Texas, Speed seemed destined for a day to forget when on lap 318 he somehow snuck...
+ SPEED, VICKERS READY TO GET DRAFTED
From the Lone Star State to the Heart of Dixie we go.
82. SCOTT SPEED
DEBBIE DOES GOOD: In Monday's rain-delayed race at Texas, Speed seemed destined for a day to forget when on lap 318 he somehow snuck through a nine-car crash that paved the way for a solid 16th-place finish. As the carnage littered the track in turn one, there was a space not much wider than Speed's No. 82 Red Bull Toyota, which he nicknamed "Debbie." He found it and wiggled through it to earn his best Texas finish in three starts.
DRIVE TO FIVE: The lone top-five finish (fifth) of Speed's 48-race career came in the 2009 spring race at Talladega Superspeedway. With a push from buddy Kyle Busch on the final lap, Speed evaded Carl Edwards' infamous landing and became the first rookie to finish in the top five in the spring Talladega race since Kurt Busch ran third in 2001. Last fall, Speed, on target for a top 15, became a victim of circumstance when Kurt Busch's car T-boned the No. 82 coming to the white flag. He finished 27th.
POINTS UPDATE: Ranks 20th -- 110 points out of the top 12.
STAT THAT MATTERS: Numbers, they say, never lie. That holds true for Speed, who recorded his fourth top-20 finish in the season's eight races at Texas. At this point one year ago, Speed failed to qualify for a race (Texas), and his best finish was 21st (Las Vegas). He's already bested that best finish four times this year.
83. BRIAN VICKERS
THE AIR IN THERE: Texas was terrible. Two early right-rear tire failures and a lengthy stint in the garage for repairs put Vickers 24 laps down in 39th. Then a persistent tire rub forced fumes into Vickers' face to where he could hardly breathe, and the No. 83 team soon shut it down for good. Vickers ended up 38th, this after a dose of oxygen at the care center, where he was released after getting the OK.
HOPE AND PRAY: Vickers is going for the 50th top-10 finish of his career at Talladega, which just so happens to be the site of his first Sprint Cup victory (October 2006). He has three top fives and five top 10s there, including and eighth and a 13th last season. The key to a good day at Talladega? "You can't let your guard down," Vickers said. "A lot of things can happen there that are out of your control. You just do your part the best you can and hope the rest of it avoids you."
POINTS UPDATE: Ranks 19th -- 106 points out of the top 12.
STAT THAT MATTERS: Vickers has led 56 laps in his 11 starts at Talladega, which ranks fourth on his personal laps led list. First is Charlotte (332), followed by Pocono (159), Michigan (95), Talladega and California (54). Vickers has failed to lead a lap at only three of the 22 tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule -- Kansas, Martinsville and Watkins Glen.
+ I'LL TAKE COMBO NO. 1, PLEASE
Last spring at Talladega, Scott Speed (fifth) and Brian Vickers (eighth) earned the best combined finish in Red Bull Racing Team's three-plus years in the Sprint Cup Series. Our best combined finishes:
+ 3, 2, 1 ... WE HAVE LIFTOFF
Talladega is known as one of NASCAR's fastest tracks, but Brian Vickers experienced some serious speed not far away in Huntsville, Ala., during a visit April 7 to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.
Vickers, the October 2006 winner at Talladega, was in town with the Winner's Circle program to promote Sunday's Aaron's 499. An avid enthusiast of the space program, Vickers participated in astronaut training activities and flight simulators.
"It was a lot of fun. I've always been fascinated with space exploration throughout my entire life -- even to this day. Especially as a child," Vickers said. "I never had an opportunity to go to the space camp down there until I was 26. I had a lot of fun, flew the simulator and did a lot of really cool stuff while we were there. It was a great experience. There was a lot of fans there of racing, so I think it was a perfect place to do it -- to promote Talladega and it was pretty neat."