Vickers dominates road course -- Brian Vickers (No. 17 GMAC Chevrolet) led 61 of 64 laps en route to winning the Blue Lizard Australian Suncream 200 at Infineon Raceway on Saturday, June 24. Vickers, a regular in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, was...
Vickers dominates road course -- Brian Vickers (No. 17 GMAC Chevrolet) led 61 of 64 laps en route to winning the Blue Lizard Australian Suncream 200 at Infineon Raceway on Saturday, June 24. Vickers, a regular in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, was making his first start in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series.
Vickers takes Budweiser Pole, also -- Vickers turned a qualifying lap of 90.872 mph around the 1.99-mile road course to win the Budweiser Pole Award at Sonoma. He became the fifth different driver to win a Budweiser Pole in five races this season.
Special visit to victory lane -- The win at Sonoma marked a special visit to victory lane for Hendrick Motorsports. The No. 17 GMAC Chevrolet driven by Vickers featured a paint scheme identical to that of the late Ricky Hendrick, son of car owner Rick Hendrick.
High marks for rookies -- Three of the top five finishers at Infineon were members of the freshman class competing for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award this year in the AutoZone West Series. Brian Ickler (No. 20 NAPA Filters/McMillin Homes Chevrolet) had an up and down day. He qualified third and was up to second early in the race, but fell back after a spin. He charged back to the front to finish third. His best previous finish was sixth at Phoenix in the season opener. His teammate at Bill McAnally Racing, Peyton Sellers (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts/NAPA Belts & Hose Chevrolet), finished fourth. Fellow rookie Justin Lofton (No. 66 Lofton Cattle Feeding Investments Chevrolet) had a career-best fifth-place finish. His best previous finish was 12th in the season opener.
Other career marks -- Two other drivers in the top 10 also topped their previous career-best finish. Todd Souza (No. 13 Blanco Basura Chevrolet) was seventh at Infineon. His best prior finish was 24th at Phoenix in 2004. Stan Silva Jr., (No. 65 A&S Metals/Stan Silva Jr. Trucking Chevrolet) finished ninth on the road course. His best previous finish was 13th at Irwindale last month.
Strong series debut for some -- The winding road course at Sonoma led to a strong finish for some drivers making their debut in the AutoZone West Series. Tom Hubert (No. 10 Sunsweet Growers Dodge) finished sixth; Tom Dyer (No. 62 Cycle Shack/Menards Chevrolet) finished eighth; Ken Epsman (No. 25 Coffee Critic/Red Line/Landgro Landscape Ford) finished 11th; and Thomas Martin (No. 28 Strictly To-Ondas/Rockett Fuel Pontiac) finished 14th, after running in the top 10 late in the race.
Outcome shuffles standings -- With many of the top drivers in the standings encountering problems at Sonoma, the outcome shuffled the championship standings. The top 10 drivers in the point standings are now separated by just 88 points. Mike David (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford) led the points coming into Sonoma. An incident on the first lap left his crew to make repairs and get him back out more than 20 laps behind the leaders. Despite a 29th-place finish, David retained a slim five-point lead in the standings.
Change among car owner standings, also -- The outcome at Sonoma, coupled with a couple of drivers shuffling rides at two events this year, has changed the championship standings for the car owners. Allen Beebe, car owner of the No. 62, leads the standings with 750 points. Nancy Myers, car owner of the No. 44 Toyota of Escondido Chevrolet, is second in points with 726. Car owner Randy Lynch (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford) is third with 712 points.
Close battle among rookies -- The battle for this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award is shaping into a very close battle -- with Brian Ickler and Peyton Sellers atop the standings with 39 points each. Justin Lofton is closed behind with 35 points, followed by Eric Hardin (No. 18 Hardin Buick-Pontiac-GMC/DSNTV Chevrolet) with 27 points and James Bruncati (No. 22 Sunrise Ford Ford) with 20 points.
POWERade Power Move -- Tom Dyer moved from 20th on the grid to finish eighth at Sonoma and win the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award. At each Grand National Division event, POWERade presents the award to the driver who advances the most positions.
Featherlite Most Improved -- Peyton Sellers won the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award at Infineon. He rebounded from a 23rd-place finish at Irwindale to finish fourth at Infineon. Featherlite presents the award at each event to the driver who improves the most finishing positions from the previous event.