CORNELIUS, N.C. – Few drivers have done more in less races this season than Brian Vickers has in Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 Toyota.
This weekend the Thomasville, N.C. native makes his fifth start in the No. 55 driving the MyClassicGarage Toyota. He owns two top-five finishes and has completed every lap in the four races he’s run in 2012 for the Rodney Childers’ led team. Vickers has finished no worse than 18th.
Vickers will drive the No. 55 in eight races this season sharing driving duties with Michael Waltrip and Mark Martin. The car is 13th in owner points. Scott Miller, MWR’s vice-president of competition, said Vickers’ effort in 2012 is one of the many reasons for MWR’s improvement. All three fulltime Sprint Cup teams are in the top-13 in owner points with Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer battling for berths in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
VICKERS ON WATKINS GLEN: “After our fourth-place finish at Sonoma I am really happy to get back in the car at a road course. With Watkins Glen’s high speeds, big breaking zones and good places to pass- I’m fairly confident it will be a good showing for us. You just have to stay out of trouble- or stay far enough ahead of the guy behind you that he won’t try to rough you up for the spot. The road racing has become a lot more physical in NASCAR over the past few years. As with any race, you have to be there at the end. I know Rodney will call a great race, the guys will give me a great Toyota and it will be my job to take care of it, have a good qualifying lap for track position, keep the brakes on it, and be there when it counts.”
CREW CHIEF SCOTT MILLER ON VICKERS: “He has done a fantastic job this season. It’s a very hard situation to put someone in and a very part time ride. But every time that he has shown up at the race track he has been on his game. He has run really well for us in the four races he has driven the No. 55. He is in a very difficult situation and has done as good as anyone could have done. So we are really happy that we decided to put him in the No. 55 and he came aboard.”
MILLER ON MWR SUCCESS: “There are a lot of things that MWR has done to be successful this season. One thing is that MWR has a really strong engineering department and they have been working really hard for a long time. It’s finally paying off for them. Toyota Racing Development (TRD) has also stepped up their game on the engines. I think the fuel injection ended up being an item that NASCAR introduced that was right in their wheel house. This might have helped them get a little jump on the competition from past experiences.”
MILLER ON MWR’S DRIVER LINE-UP: “Our driver line-up has also contributed to our success. I feel like Mark (Martins’) has been a great asset to us. He has helped me understand what he has seen elsewhere in the business on a few items really kind of unrelated to the cars. Also his contribution at the race track has been really important to our success. He has unbelievable speed which has kept everyone pumped up and excited about where we are heading. The other drivers have really stepped up to the plate. I have had history with Clint and he has done exactly what I thought he could do coming in and Martin has just been a breath of fresh air to work with. He has been very dedicated and very committed to his job. They are a very strong line-up and they really get along with each other which is sometime hard to accomplish.”
MWR 2012: MWR owns a win (Bowyer at Sonoma), 13 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes through the first 21 races of the season. In its first five seasons combined, MWR scored two wins, 17 top-five and 52 top-10 finishes.
LAPS LED: MWR’s Toyotas have led 623 laps compared to 656 in its first five seasons of competition. Truex Jr. leads the MWR charge with 320 laps, followed by Vickers with 125, Mark Martin with 79, Bowyer with 78 and Michael Waltrip with 21.
CHASSIS NOTES: Primary Chassis No. 676 started 21st and finished fourth at Sonoma in June. Backup Chassis No. 661 served backup duties at Sonoma.
VICKERS AT WATKINS GLEN: Vickers owns seven starts at Watkins Glen International. He has a career-best finish of eighth came in August 2005.
VICKERS 2012: In four starts this season, Vickers has two top-five finishes. He led 125 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway en route to a fifth-place finish. He has an average finish of 10.5 and average start of 16.8.
CAREER: Vickers owns 259 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts. He has two wins (Talladega–2006 and Michigan–2009), 11 poles, 23 top-five and 59 top-10 finishes.
RETURN: Vickers last raced on July 15 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Martin drove the No. 55 at Indianapolis and Pocono.
MWR ROAD COURSE STATS: In 25 road course starts MWR has one win (Bowyer–Sonoma 2012), three top-five, four top-10 and seven top-15 finishes.
MWR CO-OWNER ROB KAUFFMAN: Kauffman and co-driver Rui Aguas will race the AF Waltrip Racing Ferrari in Saturday’s Rolex Sports car race at Watkins Glen International. SPEED-TV will air the two-hour race live at 6 p.m. ET.