NASCAR Teleconference Transcript - Brian Vickers September 8, 2009 An interview with: BRIAN VICKERS DENISE MALOOF: Now I understand Brian Vickers has joined us. Thanks for joining us today. Brian, drives the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota. He's...
NASCAR Teleconference Transcript - Brian Vickers
September 8, 2009
An interview with:
DENISE MALOOF: Now I understand Brian Vickers has joined us. Thanks for joining us today. Brian, drives the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota. He's 13th in the standings. He is 20 points behind Matt Kenseth in 12th place. Brian, it's a simple task Saturday for you, but it's not that simple, is it?
BRIAN VICKERS: No. I mean, I think it's very clear as to what we have to do, which is pretty much go there and win the race. That's not necessarily the only way to get in the Chase, but that's really how we're going to gain the most amount of points.
Even if we accomplish our goal, which is to go there, sit on pole, lead laps, win the race, there's still no guarantee we're going to make the Chase. If Matt finishes second, there's nothing we can do about it.
The last thing that myself or anybody on the Red Bull team is wish ill upon anybody. We don't want anything bad to happen to our competitors. But we need them to at least not have a great night, no matter how our performance is.
DENISE MALOOF: Let's go straight to media questions for Brian Vickers.
Q: Everybody around that bubble spot have different strategies going into this. What is your strategy going into this race and do you keep an eye on the others? How might that strategy change during the race?
BRIAN VICKERS: I think our strategy is going to essentially be to gain the most amount of points possible. We can't get tied up in what everyone is doing. I'd be lying if I didn't say we're not going to stay on top of it and be aware of it, no different than Atlanta. When I was racing with Matt and Kyle, I knew I was also racing with guys for a spot in the Chase.
The best thing that we can do, the most important thing we can do, is to not make a mistake, not have a bad finish, but we need to have a good one. We sat on the pole earlier this year. Hopefully we can do that again. Lead a lap, get five bonus points, try to win the race, collect as many points as possible, and the rest is going to be up to our competitors.
Could that strategy change throughout the race? Of course it could. If Kyle and/or Matt have a problem, or Greg Biffle, anyone else that's on the bubble, has a problem during the race, we know we have to finish 20th instead of first, then of course that's going to change our strategy. We may not take a risk to win the race when we conservatively can finish seventh or 10th and make the Chase. I'm sure that Ryan and the guys will stay on top of that throughout the race. My focus is going to remain on passing the guy in front of me and if we're leading trying to stay in the lead.
Q: Do you have any feelings about Richmond as a track? Seems this may not necessarily be your favorite place to race. Any trepidation about coming in here and needing a good result?
BRIAN VICKERS: It's been an up-and-down track for us. I have two poles there. We haven't won a race there. It hasn't been one of our best tracks either.
I like Richmond. I think it's a good racetrack. A lot of fun. I enjoy racing there. But I'd like to have the average finish I have at some tracks going into this Race for the Chase, of course. Richmond is not a bad track for us. We need to go there and repeat the same thing there on Friday, which is get pole, then get the race package to work. We were good on the short runs, but we were bad on the long runs. We think we know why that is. We think we know how to fix it. We've gotten a lot better since then. Hopefully if we can fix the long run part of our race package, then we should be really good because we had one of the fastest cars if not the fastest cars earlier this year.
Q: You've been so strong in the last several races. You're so close to making the chase. Is that all you think about this week or can you live a normal life until you get to Richmond?
BRIAN VICKERS: No, I try to live as normal of a life as possible. I find that over the years just doing this for a long time, if you get caught up too much emotionally and mentally throughout the week, even on the weekend, as to the challenge ahead, you can mentally drain yourself. You can really wear your body and your mind down just overthinking a situation.
I think that really applies to anything in life, but especially racing. I try to focus on the task at hand during the week, whether it's other work-related stuff or racing-related stuff or just personal downtime. Try not to let it eat at me, I guess you could say. It's not easy.
Q: Are you surprised it's only taken three years for you to basically have a team that started at nothing to now be a race-winning team and be contending for the championship or do you think it's something that should have come along sooner?
BRIAN VICKERS: Somewhere in the middle. Although I would have liked for it to come along sooner, I don't think that would be realistic. At the same time I'm also not surprised that we've been able to accomplish what we have. The reason I say that is because we have a lot of really good people. It's a brand-new team. We had to start from zero. By all means, what Tony has accomplished this year is amazing. I would never try to take anything away from that. A lot of people have given them credit for leading the points being a brand-new team. That's not really the case. Haas has been around for a long time. For all intents and purposes, the car is Hendrick Motorsports, same engineers, same setup, same chassis, same body. I'm not sure where you define that line as a team. When all of the equipment and the information is the same, it's the same.
So it's completely different. I know we've been compared to that before. I know that's not your question, but that's been brought up before. I think it's very different.
For us, we were the first employees that walked in the shop. There weren't tools, much less racecars. We had to start from scratch. The fact we built what we have in this amount of time is impressive. I'm proud of what Red Bull has accomplished, and Toyota. Brand-new manufacturer, as well.
But that being said, there were good resources, a lot of very smart, driven people. That was the potential that I've always seen in the team. It's satisfying to finally see that realized.
Q: If you make the Chase on Saturday night, who are the teams to be the ones to beat?
BRIAN VICKERS: I think we're going to be competitive. If you look at the record the past 10 weeks, we've earned -- I read in one of the papers this past week that we've earned the most amount of points in the past 10 weeks than anybody. Maybe it was nine weeks or 11 weeks, but roughly about 10 weeks, we've earned the most amount of points on the track. That's what it takes to win a championship.
Can we maintain that? I don't know. It won't be easy. It won't be easy to maintain that over a course of 20 weeks, but we've done it for 10. If we can make the Chase, do another 10, we win the championship. I know we're capable of it. I think at this point we need to set high goals and expectations, but we also have to remain realistic. We are a very young and new team. Just to be in the Chase is a huge accomplishment. What we do from there I think is all gravy. That doesn't mean we're not going to try to win the championship. I think to try to put that pressure on such a young team, the expectation to win the championship, would not be right. It doesn't mean that we don't think we're capable of it or we shouldn't try, but I think to put the expectation up there that we should is probably a bit strong for a two-and-a-half-year-old team.
Q: In looking back over the first 25 races, is there one particular event where you would really like to have it over again?
BRIAN VICKERS: Oh, wow. I'd say there's 18 of the first 19 races. The only one I would say we wouldn't do something different is Michigan where we won the race. Hindsight is always 20/20. I feel like we made the decisions we made at the time for a reason and we made the best ones we could. We had a lot of good races this year, but we've had a lot of mistakes, my part, team's part, Toyota's part. Lost several engines this year. Everybody gets caught up in Richmond when it comes down to the Chase, especially when you're on the bubble. It's really not all about Richmond. It's about 20 races, however many races it is, 26 races. Every race leading up to Richmond pays the same amount of points. Daytona all the way to Richmond. Whatever happens at Richmond, you can't just blame it on that one. There's always going to be races throughout the year that cost you a lot of points. Of course we're going to look back on those and wished we got more points.
In all, I'm proud of the team, proud of where we are right now, proud of the accomplishments we've done, that we've accomplished this year. Have we made mistakes? Of course, we made mistakes. But we did the best we could at the time and that's all you can ask for. I think we've grown, learned a lot, done well.
Anyway, I hate to run. I know Kyle ran a little long, but unfortunately I have another one-hour teleconference. I'm going to have to go. But thanks again for your time. If you have any further questions or need anything else, contact Red Bull and we'll do whatever we can to help you. Thanks for your time and we'll talk to you later.
DENISE MALOOF: Thanks, Brian. Thanks for calling in. We appreciate that.