For the second consecutive week, fuel mileage decided a NASCAR Chase race. One Red Bull Toyota benefitted, the other not so much.
Brian Vickers, after qualifying third for his best starting position of the season, finished fifth Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. But had the Sylvania 300 been, say, the Sylvania 302, Vickers may have visited victory lane as several cars needed fuel late in the race.
Still, Vickers will take his second top five of the season and second at New Hampshire. He also led his first laps (four) of 2011.
"I’m really proud of the effort by everyone.”
“It was a good run for us,” Vickers said. “The Red Bull Toyota guys did a good job all day. We were good in the first stint, but not great. We over adjusted and got way too loose in the second or third stint and lost our track position. The last two runs we were awesome. The car was so good, probably one of the better cars on the track. We had to pass 20 cars just to get back to the top-five and ran out of time, but I’m really proud of the effort by everyone.”
Kasey Kahne qualified just ahead of Vickers in second and had one of the race’s dominant cars, running in the top two or three positions and leading four times for 43 laps. But Kahne, low of fuel and knowing the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota couldn’t make it to the end, pitted with 16 laps to go.
He lost all the track position he earned all race and finished 15th.
“We had a good car — top two, three all day,” Kahne said. “We just didn’t have very good fuel mileage and didn’t think we could make it. So we were hoping for cautions, never got them and ended up 15th. Just didn’t work out for us, but we had a great car.”
WHITT LETDOWN IN LOUDON
Already, at only 20 years old and in his second NASCAR season, Cole Whitt sounds like a veteran. He finished 15th in Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway — fighting the good fight for track position, which he never had after starting 18th and losing a lap under the furious pace set by the leaders.
“We never went backward, which is a good thing. But we never went forward, either,” Whitt said. “We just can’t to put together a full weekend. Track position is so important here, and we never had any of it.
“We’ll keep trying. Right now, we’re tying to get a win. We have a good group. We can do it … just need to put a full together. The good thing is we have a series of tracks coming up that we’ve run well at.”
Whitt ranks eighth in the championship — 66 points out of the lead, but only 19 out of fifth.
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