Dover: Brian Vickers race report

VICKERS COLLECTS CONSECUTIVE TOP-FIVES WITH FOURTH-PLACE FINISH AT DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY DOVER, Del. (June 1, 2009) -- Brian Vickers and the No. 32 Dollar General team collected their third top-five finish of the 2009 season this weekend...


DOVER, Del. (June 1, 2009) -- Brian Vickers and the No. 32 Dollar General team collected their third top-five finish of the 2009 season this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Starting the afternoon in the seventh position, Vickers drove a solid race, never falling out of the top-10, and finishing the 200-mile race in the fourth position.

As 43 cars took the green flag for the Heluva Good! 200 at Dover International Speedway, crew chiefs and drivers were planning for the mandatory competition caution that NASCAR had scheduled for lap 35 of the 200-lap race. The first caution of the day, however, would come much sooner than that. On lap 2 the No. 77 of Peyton Sellers made hard contact with the outside wall and brought out the yellow flag. Vickers took the opportunity to tell crew chief, Trent Owens, how the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota was handling in the first few laps.

"It's a little tight in traffic," said Vickers. Tighter than we thought "it would be."

On lap 11, Vickers came over the radio and was able to give Owens another handling update. He reported that the No. 32 was tight in the center of the corners when he got on the throttle. Owens and the crew began to plan the adjustments they would make on the lap-35 pit stop.

The second caution occurred on lap 28 and NASCAR announced to teams that this would serve as the competition caution. Waiting for pit road to open, Vickers came on the radio to describe the car's condition. "It's a little slow to come to us but it isn't getting worst. It's still tight from the center off. Can you check the left front? I made contact with the 60 as we were all checking up."

On lap 30 Vickers brought the No. 32 to the Dollar General team's pit stall for tires and adjustments. The crew quickly changed four tires, added fuel and made track bar and air pressure adjustments to combat the Camry's tight condition. Owens reported that there was a good-sized dent in the hood from the contact with the No. 60 but other than that, the car was ok. The race restarted on lap 34 with Vickers running in the ninth position.

Throughout the next 15 laps, Vickers methodically drove the one-mile track and assessed the adjustments. Vickers reported on lap 48 that the car was a little loose as a result of the changes. Under the afternoon's third caution, Vickers returned to pit road on lap 74. The Dollar General crew rapidly put on four scuffed tires and again made air pressure and track bar adjustments in hopes of balancing the car's handling.

During the next run, Vickers moved from the ninth to the seventh spot. Under caution once again at lap 84, he radioed the team to give the latest status on the Toyota. "The car is a little free all the way through, but it is pretty good. We just can't quite carry the speed through the corners like some of these cars, but it's got a good balance to it."

Vickers brought the Dollar General Toyota to pit road for his final stop on lap 131. While the field was under the yellow flag, the No. 32 crew put on four sticker tires, removed a windshield tear-off and made a slight air pressure adjustment for the loose condition of the car. Though the car was a little on the free side, Vickers was happy with its overall performance.

On lap 138, the race restarted with Vickers in the seventh position. Six laps later, the No. 6 spun and collected the No. 33. The mayhem occurred just in front of Vickers, whose quick reaction allowed the No. 32 to escape unscathed. "Whew! That was real close!" radioed Vickers. "Good job on that one!" replied spotter Chris Lambert. With track position on the "Monster Mile" being vital, Owens made the call to stay out. Vickers was now running in the fifth position.

When the next caution came at lap 159 and with limited visibility from the pit box to the pit entrance, it was Lambert who was the valued 'eye in the sky', making the call to remain on the track when the lead cars behind Vickers chose to stay out.

Vickers was quiet in the closing laps, holding strong to the fifth position. Restarting after the final caution on lap 197, it was a three-lap dash to the checkered flag. With only two laps remaining, the No. 18 and No. 20 made contact, resulting in the No. 18 slipping out of the top-five. Vickers moved into the fourth position and battled side-by-side with Carl Edwards to keep it. With his fourth-place finish, Vickers gave his team consecutive top-five finishes and their third of the season.

"We had a strong Dollar General Toyota today," said Vickers. "I don't know that we had enough to win the race, but it was definitely a really good car. It was a fun race there at the end with Carl [Edwards] in those last laps. Some great side-by-side action. I'm looking forward to getting back in this car in a few weeks and wish Burney and the team good luck next week!"

Brian Vickers will return to the wheel of the No. 32 Dollar General Camry in four weeks at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Burney Lamar will pilot the Toyota for the next three events at Nashville Superspeedway, Kentucky Speedway and The Milwaukee Mile.

Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Nashville Superspeedway next weekend for the Federated Auto Parts 300.

-credit: br

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Drivers Trent Owens , Brian Vickers , Carl Edwards , Burney Lamar , Peyton Sellers