CORNELIUS, N.C. — Brian Vickers returns to Bristol Motor Speedway where he made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012.
And what a debut it was.
Vickers led 125 laps and finished fifth. His success continued throughout the season where he scored three top-five and five top-10 finishes in eight races for the Rodney Childers led team.
The 29-year-old’s nine-race schedule in 2013 includes: all Bristol, Martinsville, and Loudon races plus the Sonoma, Watkins Glen and Kentucky races.
Will you be at a disadvantage with the new car running a limited NSCS schedule? “I don’t think so. I don’t think in the long run — I’ve been racing at all these tracks for a decade and they don’t change that much in a year. I’m going to be on all the tracks in the Nationwide Series this year. I’m going to be in the 2013 Toyota Camry car some — probably going to test it more as well. I don’t think that the differences between the old car to the new car are so great that only running it nine times versus 30 times is going to matter.”
What has it been like working with Rodney Childers? “It’s been great and he (Rodney Childers, crew chief) is an integral component to the team’s performance and the organization’s performance and my performance. Clearly all the guys — not just him, but all that flows down from the top and he’s done a phenomenal job. I’ve known Rodney for 20-plus years and he was the guy that got me into go-karts so working with him again has been a pleasure on two fronts. One, he builds really good cars and two, we have a great relationship.”
Were you pleased with your results last year? “Pleased, but not satisfied. I would have loved to have won one of those races and we came very close. Obviously, very pleased with the results and how it all worked out considering it was part time. Personally, it was a phenomenal year. I got to race all over the world. I got to run some races that some of my peers would dream about running. They may never get that chance because they’ll spend their whole career here. I came back so it’s clearly a good place to be — I love NASCAR, but to have the opportunity to run those races all around the world was great and I would love to do it again one day. Not any time soon — I still want to win a Sprint Cup championship, but I would love to go back.”
VICKERS AT BRISTOL: Vickers owns 16 starts at Bristol Motor Speedway. He has a career-best finish of fourth which came in August of 2012. He has led 127 laps and has six top-15 finishes.
DID YOU KNOW: Vicker’s scored the most points (81) at Bristol in 2012.
VICKERS 2012: In eight Sprint Cup starts last season, Vickers scored three top-5 and five top-10 finishes. He also led 158 laps and had and average finish of 13.2.
NATIONWIDE STATS: In three Nationwide races this season, Vickers has one top-five finish and has led 39 laps of competition. He is ranked 7th in the point standings.
CHASSIS CHATTER: Vicker’s drove primary chassis No. 722 to two top-five finishes last season at Bristol Motor Speedway. The backup chassis (No. 732) Mark Martin raced to a sixth-place finish at Charlotte in October.
MWR AT BRISTOL: MWR had four top-five and five top-10 finishes last season at Bristol. An MWR driver has led laps in each of the last five races at Bristol (Reutimann led 25 laps in 2010-2, Truex 63 laps in 2011-1, Truex five laps in 2011-2, Vickers 125 laps in 2012-1 and Truex 44 laps in 2012-2).
MWR 2013: In three races this season the MWR team has one pole, one top-five and three top 10 finishes. They have also led 98 laps of competition.
CAREER: Vickers owns 263 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts. He has two wins (Talladega– 2006 and Michigan– 2009), 11 poles, 24 top-five and 62 top-10 finishes.
INSIDER PROGRAM: Michael Waltrip Racing launched its Insider Program in 2013 that offers all race fans sponsor discounts, specials on merchandise, exclusive pictures and video content plus fan giveaways throughout the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Fans can access the MWR Insider Program through the CardStar application available on most smartphones. MWR will work on behalf of the fans to expand the offerings beyond just its current sponsor line-up, aggregating industry-wide deals and discounts. Fans can text MWR to 42828 to get the card for free. Offers include free headset with rental of a FanVision unit ($19.99 value) and 25% off Toyota Racing merchandise at ToyotaRacing.com.
No. 55 DRIVERS: Martin will drive the No. 55 in 24 races, Brian Vickers in nine races and Michael Waltrip in three races.