Brian Vickers

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Brian Vickers
Brian Vickers Road America 2013.jpg
Vickers at Road America in 2013
Born (1983-10-24) October 24, 1983 (age 30)
Thomasville, North Carolina, U.S.
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 160 lb (73 kg)
Achievements 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Champion
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
288 race(s) run over 12 year(s)
Car no., team No. 55 (Michael Waltrip Racing)
2013 position 78th
Best finish 12th (2009)
First race 2003 UAW-GM Quality 500 (Charlotte)
Last race 2014 Bojangles' Southern 500 (Darlington)
First win 2006 UAW-Ford 500 (Talladega)
Last win 2013 Camping World RV Sales 301 (Loudon)
Wins Top tens Poles
3 71 11
NASCAR Nationwide Series career
148 race(s) run over 12 year(s)
2013 position 10th
Best finish 1st (2003)
First race 2001 GNC Live Well 250 (Milwaukee)
Last race 2013 Dollar General 300 (Charlotte)
First win 2003 Kroger 200 (IRP)
Last win 2003 Stacker 200 Presented by YJ Stinger (Dover)
Wins Top tens Poles
3 78 4
Statistics current as of April 12, 2014.
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 2012
Teams AF Corse
Best finish 31st
Class wins 0

Brian Lee Vickers (born October 24, 1983 in Thomasville, North Carolina)[1] is an American stock car and sports car racing driver. He is the driver of the No. 55 Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as well as the No. 20 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series. He was the 2003 Busch Series champion, and at age 20, became the youngest champion in any of NASCAR's three top-tier series.

Racing career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Vickers began running go karts in 1994. Over the next three years, he won eighty races in the World Karting Association, and won three championships, including the 1995 championship against three-time winner Mike Schwartz. In 1998, he moved to the Allison Legacy Series, and won five races during the course of the season. After competing in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series in 1999, he moved to USAR ProCup; winning Rookie of the Year. He won two races in 2000. In 2001, he won five more races and finished 2nd in points.

Vickers made his Busch Series debut in the 2001 GNC Live Well 250 at Miwaukee in the No. 29 car; owned by his father Clyde Vickers' BLV Motorsports team. He qualified 30th and finished 37th after a crash. Vickers ran three more races that season; his best finish being 25th at North Carolina. In 2002, Vickers began running the Busch Series in his father's No. 40 Dodge Intrepid. He drove in 21 races, competing for Rookie of the Year honors;[2] his best finish was 7th in the Hardee's 250 at Richmond, his only top 10 of the season on his way to finishing 30th in series points.[3]

2003[edit]

Due to a lack of funding for his family-owned team, Vickers was hired to replace Ricky Hendrick in the No. 5 GMAC Chevrolet owned by Hendrick Motorsports.[4] In 2003, Vickers won three races and the championship by 14 points over David Green; becoming the youngest champion in the history of the series at age 20. Vickers made his Cup debut in the 2003 UAW-GM Quality 500 at Charlotte; qualifying 20th and finishing 33rd in the #60 Haas Automation Chevy. He ran four more races that season in Hendrick's #25 UAW/Delphi Chevy; qualifying in the top 5 each time, but posting only one top 20 finish.

2004[edit]

Vickers' crew working on his 2004 car.

In 2004, Vickers ran the #25 in the Cup series full-time; carrying sponsorship from Ditech and GMAC. He won two poles, had four top tens, and finished third behind Kasey Kahne and Brendan Gaughan for Rookie of the Year.

2005[edit]

In 2005, Vickers won the NEXTEL Open exhibition race. He was right behind Mike Bliss on the last lap. He made an effort to pass Bliss at the last possible moment. Bliss blocked him and they touched bumpers; causing Bliss to spin out and allowing Vickers to win. That qualified him for the annual NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, in which he finished 3rd. Vickers finished the year 17th in Cup points with ten top 10s. He also returned to the Busch Series in a limited capacity in 2005, and finishing third at Watkins Glen in the #5. He drove five other races in the #57.

2006[edit]

Vickers started out the 2006 season with a 7th place finish in the Daytona 500. He went on to finish 15th in points with nine top 10s, including a win at Talladega. However, the season was marred by conflicts within Hendrick Motorsports. On June 25, Vickers announced that he would leave Hendrick and drive for the new Red Bull Team team in 2007. In the UAW-Ford 500, Vickers was running third when he bumped teammate Jimmie Johnson on the last lap; causing both Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the leader, to spin out. Vickers went on to score his first victory. Johnson was livid with Vickers, and both he and his crew chief Chad Knaus questioned Vickers' motives with the bump,[5] leading Knaus to state that Vickers had "run out of talent" prior to wrecking his teammate.[6] However, both Johnson and Vickers had a long discussion about what had happened and decided that it was best to move on. This was easily conveyed when Vickers came to congratulate Johnson and Johnson gave him a hug when Johnson won the championship at Homestead.[7] In 2006, he also won a one-off race for Hendrick in the Autozone West Series at Sonoma.

2007[edit]

2007 Nextel Cup car

In 2007, Vickers drove the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry for the new Red Bull team, with crew chief Doug Richert, as a teammate to A. J. Allmendinger.

This season started out poorly when Vickers suffered a blown tire during his qualifying race for the Daytona 500; causing him to fail to qualify. The next week, the team regrouped, however, and scored a tenth place finish in their first outing, the Auto Club 500 at California, which was coincidentally Toyota's first top 10 in the Cup series. Two weeks later, Vickers led Toyota's first lap in the Cup series at Atlanta.

On May 27, 2007, Vickers gave Toyota its first top 5 ever in the Coca-Cola 600. Toyota brought a new engine to Charlotte, and Vickers showed its potential and surprised many by leading more than 70 laps of the race and having the dominant car. However, towards the end of the race, the power steering of the vehicle began to fail, and eventually ceased operation completely. The team's luck continued to decline as Vickers soon blew a tire and slid into the turn four wall. Immediately as Vickers entered pit road, the caution flew for debris on the track; supposedly from his car. This was a saving grace, as it allowed the #83 car to stay on the lead lap; albeit off the pace and out of contention for the win. Richert managed to salvage the race through pit strategy; enabling Vickers to score a fifth place finish.

Late in the 2007 season, Richert was fired from Team Red Bull and replaced by Randy Cox, who was formerly employed on Team Red Bull's Research and Development team. Vickers struggled for the remainder of the season as Team Red Bull began to focus on developing its Car of Tomorrow program, which would start competing full-time the next season. The resulting inattention to its "current car" program severely hampered Vickers' efforts during the remaining races of that platform.[citation needed] It was another problem in a long line for the entire Red Bull organization, as Vickers finished 38th in points and failed to qualify for 13 races while his teammate, A.J. Allmendinger, missed 19 races and finished 43rd.

2008[edit]

2008 Sprint Cup car

In 2008, Vickers, with new crew chief Kevin Hamlin, qualified for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 after racing himself in the field with an 11th place finish in the Gatorade Duel. He went on to make the next 4 races with an average finish of 21st including a 9th place finish at Atlanta where he finished 9th.

Vickers' pit crew won the 2008 Pit Crew Challenge during the All-Star weekend. Vickers went on the next weekend and led 61 laps in the Coca-Cola 600 before he lost his left rear wheel and crashed about halfway through the race.

2009[edit]

2009 Sprint Cup car

For the 2009 season, Vickers got a new crew chief: Ryan Pemberton. It was announced he has picked up an additional sponsor in Mighty Auto Parts.

Vickers' season began with controversy in the Daytona 500. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. got a run on the backstretch to the inside of Vickers, but Vickers blocked. Earnhardt, Jr. clipped the left rear fender; getting Vickers loose sending him into the field. Vickers said after the race that Earnhardt should have been black-flagged. Earnhardt later stated that he was unaware that Vickers was a lap down, and that both were fighting for the Lucky Dog position. Earnhardt later apologized.

Vickers won the pole for the Auto Cub 500, but had to go to the rear because of an engine change. Vickers went on to finish 10th.

Vickers ran in the top five all day during the Kobalt Tools 500. In the final laps, Vickers was chasing down Kurt Busch for the win, but Robby Gordon blew a tire to bring out the caution; allowing Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards to catch Vickers on the restart. Vickers finished 5th.

Vickers won his 2nd pole of the season for the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond. Vickers finished 15th in the race.

On June 10, 2009, Team Red Bull pulled off an amazing pit stop in New York City. Brian pulled the #83 Red Bull Toyota to the side of the road and the team changed 4 tires right in Times Square with traffic still moving around them.

Vickers won his 3rd pole of the season for the Lifelock 400 at Michigan. Vickers never led a lap in the race, but earned a solid 9th place finish.

Vickers won his 4th pole of the season for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma. Vickers finished 16th in the race.

Vickers won his 5th pole of the season for the Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland. Vickers finished 7th in the race.

Vickers won his 6th pole of the season at Michigan. He also won the pole for the Carfax 250. In the Nationwide race, he and his former teammate Kyle Busch were racing hard for the lead on the final lap; allowing the NASCAR rookie Brad Keselowski to pass both of them for the win. After the race, Busch confronted Vickers on pit road accusing him of rough driving. Vickers sarcastically said, "Oh man, I tell you, I am so sorry, I forgot that this is the Kyle Busch Show."[8][9]

Vickers at a merchandise trailer

The next day, Vickers won the Carfax 400 from the pole for his second career Sprint Cup victory, Red Bull's first victory, and Toyota's first victory at Michigan. He did so after a late race gamble of not coming in to pit during the race's final caution. On the final restart, Vickers was first and Jimmie Johnson was second. With a little over 40 laps to go, Vickers stayed behind Johnson most of the time; trying to save fuel. With just over 3 laps to go, Johnson ran out of fuel, while Vickers barely had enough to claim the win and do a few burnouts before his car ran out of fuel in the infield. This victory was also the first one for Red Bull Racing and the first for Red Bull's sponsorship in NASCAR.

Two days after the win, Vickers resigned a multi-year extension with Red Bull.

After finishing 7th in the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond, Vickers clinched a spot in the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup. He would finish 12th in the standings; his highest points finish to date. His six poles in 2009 was 2nd to Mark Martin's seven for most poles of the year.

2010[edit]

On May 13, 2010, it was announced that Vickers, who had earned three top 10s in the first 11 races, would not be participating in the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway due to an undisclosed medical condition, later revealed to be blood clots in his legs and around his lungs.[10] Casey Mears was announced as his replacement. This ended a streak of 87 consecutive starts, which dated back to Atlanta in 2007.[10] Vickers hoped to run a handful of laps before handing the car over to a relief driver in order to earn points, but was not medically cleared.[10]

On May 21, 2010, six days after being released from a hospital for the aforementioned blood clot issue, it was announced that Vickers would miss the remainder of the season. His replacements were Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson, Mattias Ekstrom,[11] Boris Said, and Kasey Kahne.[12] Vickers' abbreviated 2010 season consisted of three top 10's in eleven races.

2011[edit]

Vickers was clear to race in 2011. His season started out in the big one at Daytona, where he would finish 31st. A week later at Phoenix, he was involved in the big one again when Matt Kenseth got into the back of him; triggering a 13 car pileup. Vickers was involved in two other notable run-ins with Kenseth in the fall races at Martinsville and Phoenix as well as run-ins with Tony Stewart at Sonoma, Marcos Ambrose at Richmond, and Jamie McMurray at Martinsville. He would finish the year 25th in points with seven top 10's. After season's end, Red Bull shut down its Cup Series team, leaving Vickers without a ride for 2012.

2012[edit]

Vickers started the 2012 season without a ride, but it was announced in early March that he would drive the No. 55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at both races at Bristol, Martinsville, and Loudon, sharing the ride with Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip.[13] In his first race in the #55, Vickers dominated the first half of the race, leading for 125 laps. He would eventually finish 5th. On March 30, Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Vickers would drive at Sonoma, and Watkins Glen, expanding his race schedule to eight races in the No. 55.[14] Vickers also drove the team's AF Corse-Waltrip #61 Ferrari in the GTE-AM class for the FIA World Endurance Championship at the 6 Hours of Spa and the 24 Heures du Mans. Vickers announced at the fall Martinsville race that he renewed his contract with MWR and will race 9 more times in the #55 car next year sharing the ride with Mark Martin (24) and Michael Waltrip (3). Additionally, Vickers will return to the Nationwide Series full-time, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.[15]

2013[edit]

Vickers during the 2013 STP Gas Booster 500
Vickers' 2013 Nationwide Series car at Road America

For his 2013 season, Vickers performed well at Bristol. His second ride in the #55 at Martinsville was unlucky. He had crashed in the beginning laps and after repairing, got back on the lead lap and then spun around. After again getting back to the lead, on the final lap he beat Danica Patrick for 11th place. Seconds later he was intentionally crashed by Kevin Harvick who was angry with Vickers for prior contact. In reply Vickers bumped Harvick back when entering pit road after the race was over; he climbed out and the two briefly argued. Vickers ran the #11 FedEx Toyota at Texas, Kansas and Richmond for an injured Denny Hamlin. Though Hamlin returned at Talladega for the Aaron's 499, Vickers substituted for him on lap 23, though he was eventually collected in The Big One less than 15 laps after the switch.[16]

At Sonoma, Vickers started in 34th place in his 3rd ride for MWR in the #55 Toyota. He led 4 laps and had a very fast racecar, even though he had to start at the rear of the field because Jason Bowles had qualified the car as Vickers was racing at Road America. While his MWR teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer ended up in the top ten, with Truex winning, Vickers ended up in 13th place.

Vickers led 63 laps in the Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway but finished second to Kyle Busch. Ironically, the next day, Vickers held off Busch to win his third career Sprint Cup Series race during the 2013 Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire after making a late race pass on Tony Stewart, and retaining the lead on a green-white-checkered finish as Stewart ran out of fuel.[17] For Vickers, this broke a 75 race winless streak (not counting the races he had missed in 2010). On August 13, 2013, Vickers was announced as the full-time driver of the No. 55 for the 2014 and 2015 seasons;[18] on August 19, it was announced that following the release of Mark Martin to substitute for the injured Tony Stewart, Vickers would drive the No. 55 in twelve of the season's final 13 races, the exception being Talladega, where Michael Waltrip will drive the car, as previously scheduled.[19]

After the Federated Auto Parts 400 in early September, Vickers was determined to be one of the drivers involved in an attempt to manipulate the race so Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Martin Truex, Jr. would earn a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The team was fined a record $300,000 and 50 championship points were deducted per car.[20]

On October 14, 2013, it was announced that Vickers would be forced to sit out the rest of the season due to the discovery of a blood clot in his right calf, a similar issue to the one that that caused him to sit out much of 2010;[21] Elliott Sadler substituted for Vickers in the No. 55 Sprint Cup car in the final four races of the season.[22]

2014[edit]

On December 19, 2013, Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Billy Scott had been named Vickers' crew chief for the 2014 season. Scott previously served as lead engineer of the No. 55 team for the past two seasons.[23][24]

Personal life[edit]

The son of Clyde and Ramona Vickers,[25] Vickers was born in Thomasville, North Carolina. Vickers is a fan of golf and attends several golf-events that NASCAR drivers often host in offseasons. He also loves traveling, hang-gliding and diving underwater. Currently he lives in Daytona Beach, Florida where he spends time with his family and pursues most of his hobbies.

Motorsports career results[edit]

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings or practice times. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Nationwide Series[edit]

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points
2 Ineligible for series points, and was penalized 50 points at fall Richmond

24 Hours of Le Mans results[edit]

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
2012 Italy AF Corse-Waltrip United States Rob Kauffmann
Portugal Rui Águas
Ferrari 458 Italia GTC GTE
Am
294 31st 6th

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brian Vickers Career Statistics
  2. ^ Long, Dustin (January 23, 2002). "Hmiel, Thomas ready to race". Greensboro News & Record (Greensboro, NC). p. C6. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  3. ^ Graves, Gary (August 29, 2003). "'Generation Nextel' drivers are raring to go ; Quartet is being counted on to rise through ranks, be big part of future". USA Today (McLean, VA). p. E4. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  4. ^ "Youth served with Vickers' Cup ride". The Miami Herald (Miami, FL). December 11, 2003. p. 2D. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  5. ^ "News & Media | NASCAR Sprint Cup Series". NASCAR.com. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "ABF Freight System, Inc. - Home Page". Teamabfracing.com. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  8. ^ http://blip.tv/scenedailytv/kyle-busch-vs-brian-vickers-2505532
  9. ^ http://blog.al.com/blogoftomorrow/2009/08/brian_vickers_says_kyle_busch.html
  10. ^ a b c "Health Conditions Remove Vickers". NASCAR.com: David Caraviello. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  11. ^ Sporting News Wire Service (2010-06-07). "Ekstrom earns Cup ride for Red Bull Racing at Infineon – Jun 7, 2010". Nascar.Com. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  12. ^ "Blood Clots End Vickers's Season". The New York Times. May 21, 2010. 
  13. ^ Bruce, Kenny (March 8, 2012). "Brian Vickers to drive in six races for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012". The Sporting News. Retrieved 2012-03-09. 
  14. ^ "Vickers Picks Up Road-Course Races". Fox News. March 30, 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  15. ^ "Vickers to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013". NASCAR. 2012-12-06. Retrieved 2012-12-15. 
  16. ^ Bruce, Kenny (May 5, 2013). "Hamlin's early Talladega exit goes according to plan". NASCAR. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  17. ^ Spencer, Reid (2013-07-14). "Brian Vickers wins at New Hampshire". NASCAR. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  18. ^ "Vickers lands full two-year deal in Waltrip's No. 55". NASCAR. 2013-08-13. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  19. ^ "Vickers to Drive Aaron's Dream Machine in 12 of Final 13 Races". Michael Waltrip Racing. August 19, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  20. ^ Williams, Heather; S (September 9, 2013). "NASCAR lowers the bomb on Michael Waltrip Racing". KWCH-DT. Wichita, KS. Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  21. ^ Ryan, Nate (October 14, 2013). "Brian Vickers has blood clot, will miss rest of season". USA Today. McLean, VA. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  22. ^ Spencer, Lee (October 17, 2013). "Sadler set to sub for Vickers". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  23. ^ "Billy Scott Named Crew Chief of No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine". Cornelius, VA: Michael Waltrip Racing. December 19, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-19. 
  24. ^ "Billy Scott named crew chief for Brian Vickers at Michael Waltrip Racing". NASCAR.com. December 19, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-19. 
  25. ^ Young, Jim (November 13, 2001). "Life in the Fast Lane". Greensboro News & Record (Greensboro, NC). p. C1. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Greg Biffle
NASCAR Busch Series Champion
2003
Succeeded by
Martin Truex, Jr.