CORNELIUS, N.C. – This weekend Brian Vickers returns to Bristol Motor Speedway where he made his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut for Michael Waltrip Racing on March 18.
Vickers led 125 laps and finished fifth on a day all three MWR cars posted top-five finishes. The Thomasville, N.C. native continued to impress in his next four races for MWR in 2012 including a fourth-place finish on the road course in Sonoma.
Vickers drives the No. 55 MyClassicGarage Toyota under the tutelage of crew chief Rodney Childers. The pair have known each other more than 20 years tracing their relationship back to the days of racing go karts as kids. The pair will contend with a reconfigured upper groove racing surface in Bristol that should make the racing more exciting for the fans.
After Bristol, Vickers will drive the No. 55 at New Hampshire on Sept. 23 and at Martinsville on Oct. 28.
VICKERS ON BRISTOL: “Last time we were in Bristol was the first time I was in the MWR Toyota. New team, new guys, new routine and it was awesome. Minus a win, I could have not asked for a better finish the first time out of the gate. We had a great car that ran very well on the bottom and led a lot of laps. It will be interesting to see though how the upper groove has changed and how it will effect the racing. They wanted it like the “old Bristol” so we’ll see. But again, we had the best car in the lower groove so hopefully it won’t effect us too much. “
ON RACING FOR MWR: “I was really happy when the phone rang from MWR . I didn’t have too much going and they had some open races. We as a group have made the most of it. We have run competitive. The cars that Scott Miller and his group build are fantastic and it’s shown on the track. Clint has a win. Martin has run well and is knocking on the door for a win and Mark has been awesome. We have two top fives. The whole MWR organization is about performance off the track with its sponsors and has become a top notch team on the track with its results. All in all this has been a great partnership and I am really thankful for the opportunity.”
ON CREW CHIEF RODNEY CHILDERS: “He is one hell of a crew chief. He takes the feedback I give him and can translate that into the set-up of the race car. Rodney comprehends the feedback I am giving him and in return I understand and trust what he is trying to do to make me more comfortable in the seat. He is calling great races as well on top of the box. He is aware of the strategy and what it takes to win races. I’m really real happy with our relationship- one that started many years ago in go karts. Its been a privilege to work along side him and all the guys that he has on the crew. There are no egos.”
MEET THE DRIVER: Vickers will make an appearance at the Aaron’s Corporate display on Saturday, August 25 at 4:30 p.m. ET.
THE OWNER: Waltrip will be this week’s guest on SPEED’s Trackside. The show airs on the SPEED channel Friday, August 24th at 6:30 p.m. ET.
MWR 2012: MWR owns a win (Bowyer at Sonoma), 14 top-five and 34 top-10 finishes through the first 23 races of the season. Four of the five drivers have recorded two or more top-five finishes – Truex Jr. and Bowyer each have five and Mark Martin and Brian Vickers each have two. All five drivers, including Michael Waltrip, have recorded a top-10.
CHASSIS NOTES: Primary chassis No. 722 has raced three times in 2012. It started 25th and finished fifth at Bristol in March with Vickers behind the wheel, started 16th and finished 21st in the All-Star race with Mark Martin and started 39th and finished 30th at Kentucky Speedway with Michael Waltrip behind the wheel. Backup chassis No. 708 has severed backup duties at multiple races, but has not raced. It served as the backup at Las Vegas, Fontanta, Texas, Kansas, Darlington, All-Start, Charlotte, both races at Pocono, Dover and Kentucky.
VICKERS AT BRISTOL: Vickers owns 15 starts at Bristol Motor Speedway He has a career-best finish of fifth which came in March of 2012. He has led 126 laps and has five top-15 finishes.
MWR AT BRISTOL: All three MWR Toyotas finished in the top-five at Bristol in the spring. Truex Jr. finished third, Bowyer fourth and Vickers fifth to mark the first time MWR ever placed three cars in the top-five of any race. MWR has finished runner up in the last two Bristol night races (Truex Jr. in 2011, Reutimann in 2010). An MWR driver has led laps in each of the last four races at Bristol (Reutimann led 25 laps in 2010-2, Truex 63 laps in 2011-1, Truex five laps in 2011-2 and Vickers 125 laps in 2012-1).
VICKERS 2012: In five starts this season, Vickers has two top-five finishes. He led 125 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway en route to a fifth-place finish.
CAREER: Vickers owns 260 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 August 12 at Watkins Glen International. Mark Martin drove the No. 55 at Michigan.
LEADING THE WAY: MWR’s Toyotas have led 708 laps in the first 23 Sprint Cup Series races of 2012. Martin Truex Jr. leads the MWR charge with 332 laps, followed by Martin 133, Vickers 125, Bowyer with 97 and Waltrip with 21.