Charlotte: Brian Vickers race report

VICKERS FINISHES 4TH IN RAINED-OUT FINALE OF CARQUEST AUTO PARTS 300 AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY CONCORD, N.C. (May 25, 2009) -- After several delays resulting from on-again-off-again showers, Brian Vickers took the green flag for the Carquest...


CONCORD, N.C. (May 25, 2009) -- After several delays resulting from on-again-off-again showers, Brian Vickers took the green flag for the Carquest Auto Parts 300 in the fifth position. The Dollar General Toyota dominated under the lights of Lowe's Motor Speedway. Vickers found himself in the fourth position after a green-flag pit stop, however, his charge forward was stopped short by the return of the rain. NASCAR called the event with 30 laps remaining and Vickers collected his fifth top-10 finish for Braun Racing in only six starts.

Engines roared just a little before 9:00 p.m. EST. After six laps under caution around the 1.5-mile track to make sure the surface was race-ready, the green flag was dropped. After running about 15 laps, Vickers reported to the team that the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota was a little tight. Despite the tight condition, Vickers climbed to the third spot.

The first caution of the night came at lap 22 when the No. 15 car slid up into the wall and then down into the grass. With track position being a key factor as rain was still in the area, crew chief, Trent Owens, made the call for a fuel only pit stop. Vickers came to pit road and the Dollar General crew quickly packed the No. 32 with fuel and made a track bar adjustment for the car's tight handling. Vickers returned to the track in the third position.

The race remained under green-flag conditions for the next 60 laps. Vickers remained in the top-five, swapping positions with other lead cars of the No. 6, No. 16 and No. 18. Throughout the run, Vickers continued to tell the team that the car was still tight. On lap 58, he keyed the radio and reported "It's definitely better if I run up top but it's pretty tight. The track bar helped us in, but not from the center off."

The leaders began making green-flag pit stops and on lap 83, Vickers brought his Camry to pit road for service. The Dollar General crew put on four fresh tires, added fuel and made air pressure and spring rubber adjustments to the No. 32. Vickers returned to the track and, as cars cycled through the green flag stops, was back in the fourth position by lap 89. Also on lap 89, the night's second caution came out when the No. 12 spun and made light contact with the wall. Vickers remained on the track and restarted the race on lap 94 from the third spot.

On lap 96, Vickers made the pass for second place and continued to chase the No. 18 for the lead. On lap 140 Vickers passed the No. 18 and took over the top spot. He remained up front for six laps until he came to pit road again under the green-flag for a scheduled pit stop.

The Dollar General crew quickly went to work and changed four tires, added fuel and made both air pressure and wedge adjustments for the car's continued tight-handling. Every car except the No. 62 and No. 1 came to pit road during the green flag cycle of stops. The No. 18 and No. 32 were ready to resume their battle for the lead spot after the final two cars went to the pits for service. That battle, however, would not occur. On lap 151, the No. 81 car brought out the night's next caution as he made hard contact with the outside wall. This gave the No. 1 and No. 62 the opportunity to make their pit stops under the caution flag, trapping the rest of the field one-lap down.

The race resumed on lap 161 with the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota in the fourth position. Vickers and eight other cars were able to battle past the No. 1 to get back on the lead lap, however, Mother Nature had other plans for the night. On lap 168 NASCAR put out the caution flag for rain and brought the cars down pit road to be covered at lap 170. As the rain came down even harder, NASCAR called the race at 11:25 p.m., giving Vickers a fourth-place finish in the Carquest Auto Parts 300.

"We had a really strong Dollar General Toyota tonight, especially on the long runs," said Vickers as he stood in the pouring rain. "I'm definitely disappointed in ending the race this way. Trent and the team worked hard all night on the car's handling. We made some adjustments on the last stop that made it even better on the short run. Kyle [Busch] was really strong to start out with -- we were about even in the middle of the run and we were better at the end of the run. I think we had a shot at it -- if we didn't have a shot at the win, we at least had a second. I hate to see it end like this."

Brian Vickers will return to the wheel of the No. 32 Dollar General Camry next weekend at Dover International Speedway.

-credit: br

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Drivers Trent Owens , Brian Vickers