Brian Vickers Becomes New Sheriff in Town with New Hampshire Win
By Mary Jo Buchanan On Sun, Jul. 14, 2013
Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota, proved that there was a new sheriff in town in the Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Vickers scored his first win of the season, forgoing the traditional burnout to instead claim the checkered flag and celebrate the moment high-fiving the fans.
“I don’t know if I can put it into words,” Vickers said. “With everything I’ve gone through from the blood clots to are you ever going to race again to now I can race, but I don’t have a job to getting a phone call from Ty (Norris) to run eight races, nothing could be more special to have this win.”
“I’m grateful to my family and friends who have supported me along the way,” Vickers continued. “When your back’s against the wall, you find out quickly who is willing to vouch for you.”
“Sitting in Victory Lane is one of the most special events of my life.”
The last time that Vickers was in Victory Lane was on August 16, 2009 at Michigan. Until now, he has never won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“I’m just thankful that I was able to get back in the car and that there were people that still believed in me,” Vickers said. “That was the biggest emotion that I have and will have going forward.”
“They took a chance in a lot of ways,” Vickers continued. “I’m just very thankful for all that and that’s the main emotion that I still have.”
Although Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, finished in the runner up position, he acknowledged that it was one difficult race, especially contending with race winner Vickers.
“Well it was certainly a tough one,” Busch said. “Our car was super-fast for the short run of the race and we could run up front and make some ground.”
“But once we got close to somebody, the aero effect seemed to take over,” Busch continued. “I was just getting tighter and tighter as the run went along.”
“I’m really proud of the effort and glad we came home second but it was a really tough day for us.”
Busch had nothing but praise for Brian Vickers, as well as Michael Waltrip Racing, with whom Joe Gibbs Racing has a relationship. And he even learned a little bit that he can take into the next Loudon race during the Chase.
“Vickers was obviously going to be the car to beat,” Busch said. “But congratulations to them.”
“It was cool to see an MWR team in Victory Lane with the relationship we have with JGR,” Busch continued. “Certainly, we really wanted to win but we know what we need to do to get our car better for when we come back in the Chase race.”
This was Busch’s seventh top-10 finish in 17 races at the Magic Mile and his 11th top-10 finish of the season.
Jeff Burton achieved a milestone at a track that he loves, scoring his best finish of the season in third. The driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet posted his 14th top-10 finish at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“You know, we feel good about what we’re doing,” Burton said. “We are definitely making progress and we feel like we are starting to building on something.
“And we think we can improve.”
Brad Keselowski, who sat on the pole, finished fourth in the Blue Deuce. And he echoed what most of the drivers were saying, that the race was one of the toughest he has run.
“That was a grueling race for sure,” Keselowski said. “We fought hard all day and came home with a fourth, so that was a decent day.”
“I thought we had a shot at it,” Keselowski continued. “The 18 and 78 were really good and I hadn’t been around the 55 all day until the end.”
“But man, that last run, he was definitely fast and deserved the win,” Keselowski said. “It was a decent day for the Miller Lite Ford Fusion but we just needed a little bit more to win.”
One of the bigger surprises of the race was the finish of Aric Almirola, behind the wheel of the No. 43 Smithfield Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, finishing fifth. And he gave all the credit to the man atop his pit box, crew chief Todd Parrott.
“We really struggled and Todd saw that track position was really important,” Almirola said. “So, we took two tires on one of those cautions and that was really bad so we came back down pit road and took four tires when everybody else stayed out and that gave us the opportunity when everyone else came to pit to make it on fuel and we stayed out.”
“That was a great pit call by Todd Parrott and these guys on the Smithfield Ford Fusion did a great job and that is nice,” Almirola continued. “It is a great way to go into the off weekend.”
As with any short, flat track, there were some moments both on and off the track that sparked some rather emotional responses.
Probably the most disappointed was Kurt Busch, who sat on the outside pole and then got tangled up with Matt Kenseth, sending Ryan Newman spinning as well. The driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet finished 31st.
I just got hit from behind,” Busch said. “There was three-wide action and everybody’s going hard.”
“Kenseth was in the middle on the back straightaway,” Busch continued. “The car gets light when there is no air on the rear spoiler back there.”
“We just got whacked by a bunch of guys,” Newman said. “The No. 18 hit me first, the No. 2 hit me next and then I guess it was Kurt (Busch) that went underneath three-wide.”
“The No. 20 come and clipped us and knocked us into the fence and took himself out,” Newman said. “That was the best I could tell.”
“We kind of were in a bad spot having a little bit older tire but just a lot of disrespect from a bunch of guys on restarts.”
The Rookie of the Year contenders Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Danica Patrick also had a moment together, finishing 23rd and 32nd respectively. And for those two drivers, it was all about the brakes that were to blame as they both went crashing.
“My brakes were going out all race really,” Stenhouse Jr. said. “I was complaining about it all race.”
“We will take the weekend off and go to Indy.”
Jimmie Johnson, who came from the rear to finish sixth and maintain the points lead, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top-ten in the 21st Annual Camping World RV Sales 301 at the Magic Mile.