Brian Vickers

Brian Vickers

Brian Lee Vickers (born October 24 1983 in Thomasville, North Carolina) is an American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. Vickers was the 2003 Nationwide Series champion, and at age 20, the youngest champion in any of NASCAR's three top-tier series. He currently drives the #83 Red Bull Toyota Camry for Red Bull Racing Team.

Career

Early Years

Vickers began running go-karts in 1994. Over the next three years, he won eighty races in the World Karting Association, and won three championships, including the 1995 championship against three-time winner Mike Schwartz (WKA). In 1998, he moved to the Allison Legacy Series, and won five races during the course of the season. After competing in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series in 1999, he moved to USAR ProCup, winning Rookie of the Year and two races in 2000. The next season, he won five more races and finished second in points.

In 2001, Vickers made his Nationwide Series debut at the GNC Live Well 250 in the #29 owned by his father, Clyde Vickers. He qualified 30th but finished 37th after a crash. Vickers ran three more races that season, his best finish a 25th at North Carolina Speedway. In 2002, Vickers began running the Nationwide Series in his father's #40 Dodge Intrepid. He drove in 21 races, and his best finish was 7th at the Hardee's 250, his only top-ten of the season.

Hendrick Motorsports

Due to a lack of funding for his family-owned team, Vickers was hired to replace Ricky Hendrick in the #5 GMAC Chevrolet, owned by Hendrick Motorsports. Vickers won three races in 2003, and won the championship by 14 points over David Green, becoming the youngest champion in the history of the series at age 20. Vickers made his Cup debut at the 2003 UAW-GM Quality 500, qualifying 20th and finishing 33rd in the #60 Haas Automation Chevy. He ran four more races that season in Hendrick's #25 UAW/Delphi Chevy, qualifying in the top-5 each time, but posting only one top-20 finish.

In 2004, Vickers ran the #25 in the Cup series full-time, carrying sponsorship from Ditech and GMAC. He won two poles, had four top-tens, and finished third behind Brendan Gaughan and Kasey Kahne for Rookie of the Year. The next season, Vickers won the NEXTEL Open exhibition race, which qualified him for the annual All-Star Challenge, in which he finished third. Vickers finished the year 17th in Cup points, scoring ten top-tens, including his then-career best finish of second at the Pocono 500. He also returned to the Nationwide Series in a limited capacity in 2005, driving in six races, and finishing third at Watkins Glen in the #57.

The season 2006, statistically, was Vickers' best yet. Vickers finished 7th in the Daytona 500, gathered nine top-tens, and got his first victory at the UAW Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. However, the season was marred by conflicts within Hendrick Motorsports. On June 25, Vickers announced that he would leave Hendrick and drive for the new Team Red Bull team in 2007. In the UAW-Ford 500, Vickers was running third when he bumped teammate Jimmie Johnson on the last lap, causing both Johnson (who was second), and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the leader, to spin out. Vickers went on to score his first victory. Johnson was livid with Vickers, and both he and his crew chief Chad Knaus questioned Vickers' motives with the bump, , with Knaus stating that Vickers had "run out of talent" prior to wrecking his teammate. However, both Johnson and Vickers had a long discussion about what had happened and decided that it was best to move on. This was easily conveyed when Vickers came to congratulate Johnson and Johnson gave him a hug when Johnson won the Nextel Cup championship at the Ford 400.

Red Bull Racing Team

In 2007, Vickers drove the #83 Red Bull Toyota Camry for Red Bull, the first season for the new team. His new crew chief for 2007 was Doug Richert, who spent the last three seasons with Greg Biffle and won a championship with Dale Earnhardt. His new teammate at Red Bull was A. J. Allmendinger, driver of the #84 Red Bull Toyota Camry for Red Bull Racing.

This season started out poorly when Vickers suffered a blown tire during his qualifying race for the Daytona 500. The next week the team regrouped, however, and scored a tenth place finish in their first outing, the Auto Club 500, which was coincidentally Toyota's first top 10 in the Nextel Cup series. Two weeks later Vickers led Toyota's first lap in the Nextel Cup series at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

On May 27, 2007, Vickers gave Toyota its first top five ever in Coca-Cola 600. Toyota brought a new engine to Lowe's, and Vickers showed its potential and surprised many by leading more than 70 laps of the race and having the dominant car. However, towards the end of the race, the power steering of the vehicle began to fail, and eventually ceased operation completely. The teams luck continued to decline as Vickers soon blew a tire and slid into the turn four wall. Immediately as Vickers entered pit road, the caution flew for debris on the track, supposedly from his incident. This was a saving grace, as it allowed the #83 car to stay on the lead lap, albeit off the pace and out of contention for the win. Crew chief Doug Richert managed to salvage the race through pit strategy, enabling Vickers to score a fifth place finish.

Late in the 2007 season, crew chief Doug Richert was fired from Red Bull Racing and replaced by Randy Cox, who was formerly employed on Red Bull Racing's Research and Development team. Vickers struggled for the remainder of the season as Red Bull Racing began to focus on developing it's Car of Tomorrow program, which will compete full time during the 2008 season. The resulting inattention to its "current car" program severely hampered Vickers' efforts during the remaining races of that platform.

In 2008, Vickers, with new crew chief Kevin Hamlin, qualified for the 50th running of the Daytona 500, after racing himself in with an 11th place finish in the Gatorade Duel 150. He then went on to make the next 4 races with an average finish of 21st including a top 10 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway where he finished 9th. Vickers was outside the top 35 in point all during the 2007 season, which meant he did not have a guaranteed starting spot. However, in 2008, he is now ensured a started sport, for now, since he is in the top 35 after 5 races.

Vickers' pit crew won the 2008 Pit Crew Challenge during the 2008 All-Star weekend. Vickers went on the next weekend and led 61 laps in the 2008 Coca-Cola 600 before he lost his left rear wheel and crashed about halfway through the race. He posted Team Red Bull's best finish to date, 2nd place, at Pocono Raceway in June of 2008.

NASCAR Nextel Cup results

(NASCAR driver results legend) (Races in bold indicate pole position)
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 NNCC Points
2006 Hendrick Motorsports 25 Chevy DAY
7
CAL
18
LSV
22
ATL
23
BRI
37
MAR
8
TEX
43
PHX
13
TAL
3
RIC
37
DAR
41
LOW
37
DOV
23
POC
4
MIC
17
INF
14
DY2
18
CHI
13
NHA
17
PO2
4
IND
17
GLN
16
MI2
15
BR2
33
CA2
41
RI2
24
NH2
5
DV2
28
KAN
8
TL2
1
LW2
10
MR2
17
AT2
19
TX2
27
PH2
11
HOM
21
15th 3906
2007 Red Bull Racing 83 Toyota DAY
CAL
10
LSV
ATL
42
BRI
15
MAR
TEX
14
PHO
TAL
RIC
DAR
43
LOW
5
DOV
19
POC
35
MIC
41
INF
NHA
DY2
29
CHI
IND
21
PO2
29
GLN
39
MI2
8
BR2
CA2
8
RI2
24
NH2
43
DV2
16
KAN
TL2
39
LW2
37
MR2
8
AT2
10
TX2
23
PH2
21
HOM
42
38th 2065
2008 Red Bull Racing 83 Toyota DAY
12
CAL
11
LSV
24
ATL
9
BRI
39
MAR
23
TEX
16
PHO
25
TAL
5
RIC
28
DAR
25
LOW
42
DOV
13
POC
2
MIC
4
INF
14
NHA
16
DY2
11
CHI
6
IND PC2 GLN MI2 BR2 CA2 RI2 NH2 DV2 KAN TL2 LW2 MR2 AT2 TX2 PH2 HOM 15th 2033*
*Season in progress.

Year Races Wins Poles Top 5 Top 10 DNF Finish Start Winnings Season Rank Team(s)
2003 5 0 0 0 0 1 29.4 6.2 $263,484 49th Hendrick Motorsports
2004 36 0 2 0 4 6 22.1 16.1 $3,044,898 25th Hendrick Motorsports
2005 36 0 1 5 10 4 19.7 16.5 $3,982,133 17th Hendrick Motorsports
2006 36 1 1 5 9 2 19.2 16.8 $3,917,676 15th Hendrick Motorsports
2007 23 0 0 1 5 5 25.1 23.0 $2,105,821 38th Team Red Bull
2008 18 0 0 3 4 2 17.7 27.3 $1,973,585 15th Team Red Bull
Totals 154 1 4 14 32 20 22.3 17.5 $15,099,282
Data as of July 10th, 2008

References

External links

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