Fontana II: Brian Vickers race report

Brian Vickers Charges to Second Place Finish in Fontana FONTANA, Calif. (October 12, 2009) -- Brian Vickers and the Dollar General team unloaded with confidence at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. They knew that they had a fast Toyota Camry and...

Brian Vickers Charges to Second Place Finish in Fontana

FONTANA, Calif. (October 12, 2009) -- Brian Vickers and the Dollar General team unloaded with confidence at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. They knew that they had a fast Toyota Camry and were poised to put it in victory lane. Driving in the top-five for the majority of the event, Vickers gambled with a late-race pit stop for fresh tires. In the final 15 laps of the race, he charged the No. 32 Dollar General Toyota to a second-place finish in the Copart 300.

When the green flag dropped on Saturday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway, Vickers immediately went to work to storm from his fifth-place starting position to the front. The top-five cars raced bumper to bumper and fender to fender, passing each other several times in the first ten laps and putting on an exciting show for the fans at the Fontana, California speedway. On lap 15, Vickers reported that the car's handling was a little too loose at the start of the run, especially when he drove the bottom line around the two-mile track. As green-flag race continued, he told crew chief, Trent Owens, the car's handling was neutralizing but it was still just a little loose.

When the first caution came out on lap 38, Vickers was running in the third position. He brought the No. 32 to pit road for service on lap 40. The Dollar General crew quickly changed the four tires, packed the Camry with fuel and made air pressure and track bar adjustments to help with the loose condition. Vickers restarted from the fourth spot when the race resumed on lap 42.

Vickers drove the Dollar General Toyota three-wide, making the pass for second on lap 53. He set his sights on the leader, gaining ground with each lap. On lap 61, Vickers took the lead.

"The car feels really good now," said Vickers. "It is still just a little loose at the beginning but it keeps getting better and better. I like it!"

On lap 72, the caution flag flew for debris on the race track. Vickers told Owens that the changes they made on the first pit stop had helped the loose condition, but that he was still a little loose in turns three and four. On lap 73 he brought the car to pit road for four sticker tires, fuel and an additional track bar adjustment. The No. 32 restarted in the third position on lap 76.

The top-five cars continued to put on a show for the fans, making several passes for position. Vickers moved to the second spot on lap 77; however, the No. 60 and No. 88 both made runs past the No. 32 and No. 16. When the caution came out again on lap 83, Vickers was in the fourth position. He reported to Owens that the loose condition persisted but that it was not severe.

Green-flag racing resumed on lap 88. The No. 32 Camry moved to the second position immediately, but was passed by the No. 18 two laps later. The No. 32 and No. 26 battled for third-place, with Vickers running the high line through the turns and the No. 16 running on the low side of the track. The top-five cars continued to swap positions. When the caution flag came out again on lap 101, Vickers was running fifth.

"The changes have been good," Vickers told Owens as he circled the track. "We just need a little more. This is a great car."

On lap 104, Vickers returned to pit road for service. The Dollar General crew changed four tires, packed the Toyota with fuel and made air pressure and track bar adjustments. Green-flag racing continued on lap 107 with the No. 32 in the ninth position.

The next 23 laps were plagued with four additional caution flags; however, Vickers continued to move forward, taking over the third position by lap 125. As the caution flag flew on lap 130, Vickers, Owens and spotter, Chris Lambert, discussed pit strategy, weighing the advantage of new tires versus the sacrificed track position. The driver of the No. 32 made the call to come to pit road on lap 133 and the Dollar General crew quickly put on four sticker tires.

Then the race resumed, Vickers was in the 25th position with 15 laps remaining in the 150-lap event. He gained five positions in the first lap and had moved into the 11th spot by lap 140. The leaders tangled in a multi-car accident on lap 141 bringing out the afternoon's ninth caution. Vickers restarted from the ninth position on lap 146.

The last caution came at lap 147, setting the stage for a green-white-checkered finish. Vickers took the final restart in the fifth position and drove up to second in less than one lap. Vickers took the checkered flag in the second position at Auto Club Speedway, charging forward an impressive 23 positions in only 17 laps!

"I am so proud of my Dollar General team," said Vickers. "We had a great car here today. The team does a tremendous job with the limitations that they have as a stand-alone organization. We battle these cup-affiliated teams every week and we are right there at the front. This was an incredible race. I think it was one of the most exciting races that we have had here in California. I want to thank the fans for coming out here this afternoon. I hope we put on a good show."

Brian Vickers will be "going pink" in a specially painted No. 32 Dollar General Toyota next weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway in support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and Breast Cancer Awareness month.

-credit: br

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Drivers Trent Owens , Brian Vickers