No. 83 driver Brian Vickers finished eighth in the season-opening non-points event Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, after running as high as second with 11 laps to go.
In typical Daytona fashion, Vickers, who started third by way of a draw, got hung out of the draft while battling for the lead with Tony Stewart. He slipped to 10th and rallied to eighth at the checkered flag.
"We had a great run and were in a great position toward the end," Vickers said. "We learned a lot tonight that will help us in the 500. Based on how well the car handled, we are going to have a very competitive car next week."
The finish matched Vickers’ best in five Shootout starts. He also was eighth in 2007 — Red Bull Racing Team’s first race of any kind.
"We are going to have a very competitive car next week." -Vickers
"With the new rules, I thought there was a little more throttle response," Vickers said, referring to the larger restrictor plates allowed by NASCAR. "I felt like if you got shuffled back or got in a bad spot, it was easier to recover."
No. 82 driver Scott Speed was not eligible for the Shootout, so Vickers’ temporary teammate for the Shootout was two-time winner Ken Schrader.
After starting 14th, Schrader sat in 15th at the 25-lap break as the team threw a series of adjustments at the car. Schrader hung onto the lead draft all night before being involved in the final eight-car accident during a green-white-checkered finish. He finished 14th.
"Everybody was just out of control," Schrader said. "I like the cars. They are out of control and race cars aren’t supposed to be real easy to drive."
Earlier on Saturday, Speed qualified 13th (189.958 mph) and Vickers 35th (188.628). Speed’s lap was strong enough to ensure him a starting spot in the Daytona 500. He and Vickers will compete in Duel qualifying race No. 2, with Speed starting sixth and Vickers 18th. The Duels set the starting lineup for next weekend’s Daytona 500.
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