VICKERS BRINGS HOME EIGHTH PLACE FINISH AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY FONTANA, CALIF. (February 21, 2009) -- Battling a loose race car, Brian Vickers drove the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota to a eighth place finish in Saturday's Stater Bros. 300 at...
VICKERS BRINGS HOME EIGHTH PLACE FINISH AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
FONTANA, CALIF. (February 21, 2009) -- Battling a loose race car, Brian Vickers drove the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota to a eighth place finish in Saturday's Stater Bros. 300 at Auto Club Speedway.
"The Dollar General guys did a good job today," said Vickers. "We didn't qualify as well as we wanted. The car was just way too loose into [turn] three. Trent and the team worked really hard on making adjustments all night. Unfortunately the car always came in at the end and we had the fastest car on the track for the last ten laps of a run."
Vickers took the green flag in the 12th position and climbed to sixth place in only twenty laps. Vickers reported that the car was good and that he was "just stuck in traffic" early in the first run. On lap 19, however, he reported that the car was tight in the center and on lap 27 added that it was starting to get "loose on throttle entry." Despite the car's handling, Vickers moved it solidly in the top five.
On lap 40, the leaders came to pit road under a green flag. The Dollar General crew climbed over the wall and quickly put on four fresh tires and added fuel. The tires contained air pressure adjustments to combat the car's ill handling. Exiting the pits, Vickers nearly made contact with teammate Jason Leffler in the No. 38, but both veterans avoided collision. Vickers returned to the track in the 17th position and, as cars cycled through stops, was back up to third by lap 43.
Vickers reported that the changes had made the car "too loose. Way, way too loose to start with." Crew chief, Trent Owens, replied over the radio, "10-4. I'll give you some track bar the next time in."
The first caution of the evening came as the No. 47 of Michael McDowell burst into flames. Running in the fifth position, Vickers reported "I definitely ran through a lot of oil through [turns] one and two."
The No. 32 Dollar General Toyota came to pit road under the caution flag on lap 52. This time, the crew put on four tires with air pressure adjustments, made a track bar adjustment, and packed the Camry with fuel. The caution was lengthy due to the amount of clean up. NASCAR reported to the teams that the track was stained but dry, as to not worry the drivers.
The Dollar General Toyota was in the seventh position when the race restarted on lap 61. A cloud of dust blew as the cars drove over the Speedy Dry put down by safety crews to treat the oiled track. Vickers climbed to the fifth position on lap 70 and reported that the "car is better. It is still pretty loose, but better." Eleven laps later, Vickers came on the radio and reported that the "car is good now" and that it seemed "the changes took a while to come in."
On lap 90 the second caution came out when Vickers went to the inside of the No. 16 in an attempt to pass for the fourth position. As the No. 16 came down, contact was made with the No. 32, sending the Dollar General Toyota sliding up the track. Vickers stayed on the brake and kept the car from making contact with the outside wall.
Vickers quickly rejoined the pack but came to pit road immediately as the right front tire was going flat rapidly. The Dollar General crew quickly put on four fresh tires, again with adjusted air pressures, made another track bar adjustment and added fuel. Three laps later Vickers came to the pit to have a windshield tear-off removed and to be topped off with fuel. The race resumed on lap 95 with the No. 32 in the 14th position.
One lap later, the caution came out again when an incident occurred just ahead of the No. 32. Vickers drove the Dollar General Toyota down pit road on lap 97 to have the team inspect the car's fender and valence from the previous contact with the No. 16. The crew only pulled slightly on the right front fender. Other than that, the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota was unharmed.
Resuming the race on a lap 101, Vickers remained solidly in the top-10 until the next caution flag. The report on the car's handling was consistent all evening. The No. 32 was way too loose early in the run and later, the car would stabilize.
The final caution of the night came on lap 128. On lap 130, Vickers brought the Dollar General Toyota down pit road for one final pit stop. The crew put on four tires, went one round down on the track bar, added fuel and removed a tear-off from the windshield. The race restarted with only 16 laps remaining in the 150-lap event.
Vickers restarted in the eighth position and reported that the car was "too loose at first to go up there," referring to the high side of the track, which is the fastest around the two-mile speedway.
With a lot of excitement amongst the leaders in the final laps, Vickers settled the No. 32 into the eighth position and brought home the second solid top-10 finish for the 2009 season.
"It's not the finish we wanted this week, but it is a solid start to the season," said Vickers.
Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Las Vegas next weekend for the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.