- Date of Birth:
- October 24, 1983
- Thomasville, NC
- FT. Lauderdale, FL
Driver, No. 83, Red Bull Racing Team (2007-11); Chase for the Sprint Cup participant (2009); two-time Sprint Cup race winner (2006-09); 11-time Sprint Cup pole winner (2004-2010); Hendrick Motorsports (2004-06); NASCAR Nationwide Series champion, youngest NASCAR champion at age 20 (2003); USAR Hooters Pro Cup (2000-01); NASCAR Weekly Racing Series (1999), Allison Legacy Series (1998); three-time World Karting Association champion (1994-97).
Red Bull Racing Team - Drivers - Brian Vickers
Racing World, Meet Brian Vickers
Born and bred in the heart of NASCAR nation, Brian Vickers took the traditional route to NASCAR Sprint Cup racing. No driving open-wheeled midgets on Midwestern dirt tracks or formula cars on the road courses of the world. For this sandy redhead from North Carolina, full-bodied beasts were the cars of choice around the Southeast.
“He always loved to go fast and race you at everything he did,” said BV’s mom, Ramona Vickers. “Whether it was racing down the stairs or the driveway and back, to taking the trash can down the driveway, to getting the mail, or just bike riding with his family.”
The need for speed hit four wheels when an 8-year-old Vickers emptied the piggy bank and offered to do extra chores around the family’s Thomasville, N.C., home to raise money for a yard kart. “He tore up the yard racing around the house,” mom said.
Vickers’ skill showed early, and he began competing in sanctioned events in the World Karting Association. From 1994 to 1997, he won three WKA national championships and more than 80 races. The next year, Vickers moved to the scaled-down cars of the Allison Legacy Series. After that, in 1999, came late model stocks in the competitive NASCAR Weekly Racing Series. He won six races and 11 poles and was named Motorsports Magazine’s “Rising Star of the Year.” He also became the youngest feature winner at the famed Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
With an eye on an eventual move to NASCAR, Vickers spent the 2000 season in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, where he won rookie of the year, two races and finished third in the championship. He returned to USAR competition the next year and finished second in points with two more wins.
BV: NASCAR CHAMPION
In 2001, Vickers debuted in NASCAR’s Busch Series (now the Nationwide Series) at Milwaukee and in 2002 made 21 starts as the only rookie driver with an independent team, wheeling father Clyde’s No. 40. He graduated with honors a full semester early from Trinity (N.C.) High School the same evening he found himself the highest-qualifying Nationwide rookie at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Vickers’ success caught the eye of late friend Ricky Hendrick. He was named the driver of Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 5 Nationwide car for 2003 and drove it straight to the championship at age 20, becoming the youngest champion in NASCAR history. He won three races that season to go along with 13 top fives and 21 top 10s.
Knowing that this kid had what it takes, Rick Hendrick gave BV a crack at five of the final six Cup races of 2003. He qualified fourth or better four times, led 11 laps and had a best showing of 13th at Phoenix.
Vickers earned full-time Cup status in Hendrick’s No. 25 car for 2004. In his three seasons at Hendrick, he earned 10 top fives, 23 top 10s and four poles, with the big breakthrough coming in October 2006 when he won his first Cup race at Talladega.
In June 2006, Vickers was introduced as the driver of Red Bull Racing Team’s No. 83 Toyota. The new team’s first season was a struggle, even though the No. 83 earned a top 10 in its first race and led the most laps of any Toyota. The second year was much more productive, as Vickers ended with three top fives and six top 10s to finish 19th in points. He earned the team’s first pole at Michigan and finished second at Pocono.
The team targeted its third season for when Vickers and the No. 83 would join NASCAR’s elite organizations. Mission accomplished, as Vickers was one of 12 drivers to qualify for the coveted Chase for the Sprint Cup and won Red Bull Racing Team’s first race in August at Michigan. He’s also earned six poles — second in the series — and finished a career-best 12th in the points.
“To be able to win at an organization where you’re one of the first employees, you were one of the first people there, to see it grow from the bottom up … it gives it a little something extra,” Vickers said.
The 2010 season was largely disappointing. Vickers started off with five top-15 finishes in the first six events, but in May revealed a blood clot condition would park him for the remainder of the season. He pushed forward with treatment while stepping back for an outside-the-cockpit look at the team.
WORK MEETS PLAY
For Vickers, driving 190 mph inches away from the competition is like anyone that pushes 80 down the interstate — no big deal. But BV still gets the rush from racing, as well as back flipping out of airplanes. An avid skydiver, Vickers made his first free fall with the Red Bull Air Force in February 2008 and since has jumped 30-plus times.
Being a professional race car driver leaves the 27-year-old Vickers little time for free time. He bounces from his residence and corporate office in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, Fla., to the race shop in North Carolina to getaway spots in Charlotte and New York.
“I love to travel,” Vickers said. “There’s a difference in travel for enjoyment and traveling for work. Traveling on a race weekend, there’s a lot of stress involved. When you’re traveling for enjoyment, it’s a completely different experience.”
While his various devices — a MacBook Pro and fleet of cellular devices that include a BlackBerry Tour and Sprint Epic — help keep him connected with life outside of ovals, public transportation and a Lexus GS450H hybrid help get him around.
“I’m a big fan of public transportation and the benefits from an economic to an environmental level,” he said. “Also, I just like trains.”
To keep fit for 140-degree cockpit heat, he kayaks and bikes mountain and country roads. He scuba dives, once caught a giant lobster spear fishing in the Bahamas and is quite the golfer, even winning a 2008 long-drive contest on the HP Tee Shot Tour.