DOVER, Del. — Take away the final stint of Sunday’s AAA 400, and Red Bull Racing Team had a strong afternoon going for it. But it was the final 35 laps that defined the Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway.
The 10th and final caution flag waved on lap 362, and nearly the entire field pitted for fuel and tires. That included Kasey Kahne’s No. 4 and Brian Vickers’ No. 83 — each of which took two right-side tires. Kahne restarted third, and Vickers picked up eight positions in the pits to seventh.
But the cars were never the same on right-side rubber only, and while Kahne maintained to finish fourth, Vickers slid back to end up 14th.
“We had a strong Red Bull Toyota throughout the race and at times we were the best car, but at the end I got a little bit tight.”
“We had a strong Red Bull Toyota throughout the race and at times we were the best car, but at the end I got a little bit tight,” Kahne said. “Then I had a great restart and I thought we were going to get to second and Jimmie (Johnson) just was coming down getting into (turn) one, so I let him go rather than wreck him. That was kind of our race, but we ran well.”
The same went for Vickers. “The car just went to crap the last two runs compared to how it was the two or three runs before,” Vickers said. “Not sure what happened. We had a really good car for a while there, just over-adjusted at the end of the race.” He was referring to rounds of wedge in the right rear and air pressure adjustments that robbed the car of what Vickers wanted compared to earlier in the race — when he said, “We are close on the car, just need track position.”
Kahne’s finish backed up Vickers’ fifth-place run earlier this season in May. It was his best finish in 16 starts at Dover, fourth top five of 2011 and ninth top 10. For Vickers, 14th was his fourth top 15 in the past five races.
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