Brian Vickers and the No. 20 Dollar General team got off to a strong start on Saturday at Auto Club Speedway. Vickers’ qualifying effort placed the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota third for the start of the afternoon’s 150 lap Nationwide Series Royal Purple 300.
The Joe Gibbs Racing trio of the No. 54, No. 11 and No. 20 cars led the field to the green flag on Saturday. Initially, Vickers reported that his DG Camry was free in and tight to the gas.
A caution on lap 33 allowed for Kevin Kidd, crew chief of the No. 20 car, to bring Vickers to pit road for four Goodyears, fuel and some adjustments to help with the handling condition. The Dollar General Toyota restarted second when the field went back to green on lap 38.
The yellow flag was back out on lap 44 and Vickers radioed in that before the caution his oil temps had raised and that there was some smoke inside the car. The gauges went back to normal under the yellow, and Vickers told his crew chief that he thought they were one more stop away from getting the car where it needed to be to compete for the win.
The No. 20 car restarted fourth on lap 49. By lap 52, Vickers informed the team that his oil temps were maxed out and there was more smoke inside the cockpit. He drove his DG Camry to pit road and Kidd made the call to bring the car behind the wall and into the garage.
After a thorough assessment, the No. 20 team’s day had unfortunately come to a close. Vickers was left with an undesirable 34th place finish which moved him back to 11th in the Nationwide Series Championship point standings, 63 markers away from the points leader.
The team will now have a two week hiatus in the Nationwide Series schedule before their next event at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, April 12.
Brian Vickers’ Post Race Thoughts: “The engine started to tighten up and I had a lot of smoke in the cockpit. The guys are still assessing the damage to pinpoint what exactly happened. I’m not sure what it was, either way it’s not a good day for the Dollar General Toyota team. The guys did a good job all weekend. We were one small adjustment away from being able to win the race, so this is very unfortunate.”