The Red Bull Toyotas combined to match the best finish in team history, with Kasey Kahne finishing third and Brian Vickers 10th Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway. And here’s why.
Consider these gaudy numbers:
+ Kahne’s No. 4 stayed in the top 15 99 percent of the time — 396 of 400 laps. His average running position was a tick over five, and he led 29 laps early.
+ Vickers’ No. 83 started 37th, but was seventh by lap 119. The car was that fast, and he picked up nearly all of those positions under green-flag conditions.
+ Vickers’ ascent didn’t end there. After a late-race pit stop, Vickers closed strong, picking up seven spots — 17th to 10th — in the final 40 laps.
+ The Red Bull Toyotas combined to run 36 fastest laps.
+ Thanks to him getting in and out efficiently and speedy stops by the No. 4 crew, Kahne spent only 3 minutes, 56.902 seconds on pit road — second-best of the 43 teams.
+ Vickers made the second-most green-flag passes on the night with 78.
+ Basically, the Red Bull Toyotas were two of the fastest cars all night. Kahne was fourth-fastest in traffic (117.157 mph) and Vickers fifth-fastest (117.064).
+ Missing a giant wreck on lap 301 doesn’t hurt your chances for a good finish. Kahne barely missed Jeff Gordon’s spinning car, and Vickers had just enough time to slow down and squeeze through. Could’ve been ugly for both.
+ Kahne, now with six top 10s in 15 Richmond races, remained 18th in the standings. Vickers’ third top 10 of the season helped him pick up two spots to 26th.
Here’s what they had to say:
Kahne, driver, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota: “Our Red Bull Toyota ran great all night. The track was so slippery with this tire that we were all just babying the throttle throughout the race runs. I thought that’s when we were probably our best was on the longer runs. We weren’t quite good enough for the (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) cars. They were really good tonight. The guys did a great job and it was nice to get a top five. We’ve come off three bad ones and at least we can get one good one and go to Darlington — one of our favorite tracks.”
Vickers, driver, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota: “That was a hard-fought 10th-place finish. The guys did a really good job getting the car right for the race. We started off good — too good. We started with pocket aces, then got our ass kicked because we were afraid to make changes. The stops were great all day. Good day for the points, and it felt good running up front again. Next week it’s off to my favorite track — Darlington. We need to keep chipping away at the points like we did today.”