Pleased with his car throughout two practice sessions on Thursday and Friday, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brian Vickers anticipated a strong run under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway. He qualified his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry 13th for Friday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300, the sixth of 33 races on the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule.
The first of eight cautions came out on lap 24. Vickers reported that his DG Camry got looser as he moved up the racetrack. Crew chief Kevin Kidd made the call for a wedge adjustment to help with the car’s handling, four tires and fuel when Vickers made his yellow-flag pit stop. The No. 20 pit crew gained four spots the pit road positioning Vickers third for the restart on lap 30.
Despite changes made on pit road, Vickers continued to struggle with a loose-handling racecar throughout the next few green flag runs, but continued to maintain a spot in the top-10.
With 36 laps to go at Texas Motor Speedway, Vickers radioed in that his Dollar General Toyota had a vibration and he suspected that he had a loose wheel. As he prepared to bring his car to pit road under green on the next lap, fortunately the yellow flag came out.
Kidd called for four Goodyears and fuel on pit road. Again, the DG pit crew gained multiple spots on pit road, moving Vickers up to 11th for the restart on lap 171. The team did not find any problems with the tires or wheels that they took off of the No. 20 car and Vickers’ problem with the vibration was gone after the stop.
The remainder of the race was run under green-flag conditions and Vickers drove through the checkers in ninth, scoring his third top-10 finish of the 2013 season. His teammate Kyle Busch was the race winner.
Vickers’ ninth-place finish moved him up two spots to ninth in the Nationwide Series Championship point standings with 39 points separating him from the leader.
In recognition of Vickers’ top-10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, a 10 percent discount on all online Dollar General purchases will be offered on Monday, April 15. Visit www.dollargeneral.com to take advantage of this exclusive offer.
Brian Vickers’ Post Race Thoughts: “Tonight we were just loose in the long run. We had some runs where we were really fast, and right there with the 22 (Brad
Keselowski) and 54 (Kyle Busch) and then we got back in traffic and were a little bit loose. I thought we had a good car at the end, we were just stuck back in traffic. The whole tire cycle thing is really interesting with how the whole race played out — then we just got really loose. The Dollar General guys did great though. We had some really good pit stops. Thanks for all their support. It was a hard fought night — a good solid night. A little disappointed because I thought we were going to be a challenge for the win.”