Red Bull Racing Team loves its mile-and-a-half tracks, and we're getting getting to another one in the Metroplex. Texas Motor Speedway is famous for its size, speed, suites and purse sizes. Even the track's caution lights are bigger. Let's just hope Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers aren't part of the flashing lights on the frontstretch.
83 . BRIAN VICKERS
RACE REWIND: Brian Vickers’ weekend at Martinsville Speedway was definitely an up-and-down one. From 37th in first practice, to 11th in final practice, to a 13th-place qualifying effort — his race day ran about the same way. Vickers had worked his way into the top 10 early in the Goody’s 500, but he got a speeding penalty exiting the pits on lap 61 while running eighth. Vickers and the No. 83 crew made various adjustments and slowly worked their way back up through the field before slipping again in the last leg of the race due to a “loose off” feeling with the car. “That was a bad weekend for us — our worst this season,” Vickers said. “We all made mistakes. But we will recover from it. If our worst day is a 17th-place finish, then we will take it.”
VITAL SIGNS: Vickers remained in 24th in the standings — 10 points out of 20th.
BIGGER IN TEXAS, HOPEFULLY: Since joining Red Bull Racing Team in 2007, Vickers’ best finish at Texas Motor Speedway is 14th in April 2007. Since then, he has finished 16th twice. He did secure a pole and track record in November 2006. “Texas is a really fun, fast track. I’m looking forward to getting back to a mile-and-a-half track, in which our program has always excelled," he said. “We need to keep chipping away at the points week by week. Hopefully we can rebound and get our momentum back with a strong run this weekend in Texas. We have had some really fast cars this year at Red Bull. Unfortunately, we haven't had the opportunity to show off all of them — yet.”
THE SHERIFF ...: ... is back in town. Vickers’ good friends, ESPN analyst Marty Smith and fellow Sprint Cup driver Jimmie Johnson, are responsible for the nickname that now lives above the window net on Vickers’ No. 83 Red Bull Toyota. “The nickname came from a few years ago when we were all at a buddy’s ranch in Texas, planning to shoot firearms. And I apparently brought the largest one — by far,” Vickers laughed. “I also figured the nickname fits well this year, since I’m back in the car and ready to get back to business.”
4 . KASEY KAHNE
HARD HIT AT THE PAPERCLIP: Kasey Kahne’s No. 4 Red Bull Toyota ended up 39th after being part of perhaps one of the hardest hits in Martinsville history. On lap 222, Kahne got throttled into the turn-three wall by the No. 56 of Martin Truex Jr. “Usually you get hit here and spin out,” said Kahne, who spun and hit on the driver’s side. “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.” Kahne was scored in 39th, and that was coming off four consecutive top 15s.
LONE STAR SPEEDSTER: Kahne has taken quite a liking to Texas since he debuted there April 4, 2004. In his 13 starts in the Lone Star State, he has a pole and victory (April 2006), three top fives and 213 laps led.
BIRTHDAY WISHES: Kasey Kahne hopes to celebrate his birthday in victory lane on Saturday night. He’ll turn 31 years old on Sunday.
TMS, A WELCOME SIGHT: “I can’t wait for Texas. To me, that’s one of the best tracks we go to. We’ve won there in the past and qualified well. We are hoping to come back from last week’s incident and get back on track. Texas is the right place to do that.”
VITAL SIGNS: Kahne dropped four positions in the standings and ranks 15th.
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