A speeding penalty for one Red Bull driver and a hard, really hard, hit for another. That was Red Bull Racing Team’s Sunday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway.
Brian Vickers rallied to finish 17th after his silver No. 83 was caught speeding early in the race. Kasey Kahne’s blue No. 4 ended up 39th after being part perhaps one of the hardest hits in Martinsville history — and there’s some serious history behind that track. After all, it’s NASCAR’s oldest.
On lap 222, Kahne got throttled into the turn-three wall by the No. 56 of Martin Truex Jr. It was a wicked, nasty and evil hit for both drivers. Truex had a stuck throttle coming off the backstretch and drilled the left rear of Kahne. While Truex kept going straight, fast and hard into the wall, Kahne spun and tagged the wall on the driver’s side.
Fire ensued. It was ugly. And the wreck prompted a 24-minute, 55-second red flag to repair the wall.
Both drivers made the customary trip to the infield care center. And thanks to the men and women that build NASCAR race cars and the tracks that install walls that ease the blow, they walked way perfectly fine.
He drove me through the wall, and he followed. It was a pretty good wreck.
“Usually you get hit here and spin out,” Kahne said. “I knew the throttle or something stuck on Martin’s car. He drove me through the wall, and he followed. It was a pretty good wreck. Just a bad day.”
Truex labeled the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota a “blessing” because it was the only thing between his car and the wall. “Unfortunate as it was that Kasey was involved,” Truex said, “he really helped slow my car down when I hit him.”
For Vickers, he got a speeding penalty exiting the pits on lap 61. At that time, he was eighth. After the tail-end-of-the-longest-line penalty, he restarted 29th.
But Vickers and crew kept their calm and little by little gained track position and fought their way back. The No. 83 climbed to as high as 11th at lap 267 before slipping back because of a little “drive off” — a common problem at NASCAR’s shortest track.
Kahne dropped four positions in the standings and ranks 15th entering Saturday night’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Vickers remained in 24th, 10 points out of 20th.
Follow Red Bull Racing Team on Twitter: @RedBullNASCAR.
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