Brian Vickers and his dad

A finished racing car is so much more than the sum of its parts, something that Clyde Vickers, father of Red Bull Toyota's NASCAR driver Brian Vickers and founder of a race-car parts supplier, knows more than most, as these sums prove...

 

1994...

Like most fathers, Clyde Vickers always wants the best for his son Brian, something he's made sure of since the junior Vickers began racing karts in 1994. But that sentiment ends when it comes to supplying parts to the Red Bull NASCAR team, because his boy gets the exact same treatment as every other driver on the grid. “Absolutely not, that would be a no-no,” Clyde Vickers says with a chuckle when asked whether he handpicks the finest parts for his son’s Red Bull Toyota. “As a business, I certainly have to be fair to all the competitors and that’s something that I have always tried to be very careful with and tried to make sure that we handled it in the right way. But certainly as a father, seeing your son compete and win races is something that you are always proud of.”

 

#83...

Having a son in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota cockpit doesn’t give Clyde’s CV Products firm any advantage either. “I may hear about something, but [my dad] typically knows about it just as soon as I do because if NASCAR is considering a major rule change, they are going to consult with the manufacturers about it beforehand,” Brian says. “And no, there are no secret parts out there,” he adds with a laugh. “Everything CV offers is for sale to everyone.”

 

1988...

The elder Vickers raced in the late 1970s and early 1980s and then around 1987 began thinking about founding a racing parts manufacturing company that concentrated on creating bits for NASCAR engines. The doors at a modest CV Products opened a year later. “I had one employee and my wife, Ramona, helping me and we had a handful of parts on some shelves,” Clyde recalls of the operation, where a young Brian often rode his bike around the office.

 

30,000...

“The company has grown so much over the years that my role is more from a 30,000-foot level as far as dealing with banks, real estate and team owners goes,” says Clyde of the loftier perch he now occupies in his firm. “The actual work, so to speak – developing the products, technical sales and distribution – comes from our engineering staff and sales staff who deal directly with the teams and the engine manufacturers.” The company has also split into several small businesses with distribution throughout the world of parts that cover all facets of the engine, as well as some chassis components.

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22...

Although it now has about 200 employees and distributes about 500 product lines, its flagship product from the start, titanium valves, remains one of CV’s most important and bestselling items. Titanium, with the symbol Ti and an atomic number of 22, is a popular material for parts as it is a tremendously strong but light metal.

 

70...

While CV Products is a big player in NASCAR, the company is best known in Europe for the Xceldyne line of valve train products. Due to non-disclosure clauses in his Formula One contracts, the elder Vickers won’t say whether Red Bull Racing is one of his clients. But with CV products used by about 70 percent of the F1 field, odds are that Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel have also been getting some help from Vickers as they challenge for this year’s Formula One world championship…

 

10...

NASCAR and Formula One teams may be his most high-profile customers but, in the grand scheme of things, the two markets are relatively small in the power sports world. Some may be surprised to discover that the drag racing market, for example, is roughly 10 times larger than these two more celebrated motorsports combined.

 

5...

The company’s strategic plan has it targeting these ‘mid-markets’ for growth in the next five years as it looks to execute on an ambitious plan to become one of the largest racing-only companies in the USA and possibly the world. And while Brian doesn’t get involved in the company today, he certainly hasn’t ruled out a second career once his racing days are done. “I would never say never but as of right now I’d say it’s his thing – one day I might get more involved, but right now I am focusing on my career,” Brian says. “I am very proud of what he has accomplished. He truly started with nothing and built the most professional organization in the business. It’s great to have our career paths aligned but not together - maybe parallel, if that makes sense. He has his thing and I have mine.”

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