Brian Vickers hoping to take FSU to Daytona victory lane on Saturday night

by Ashley McCubbin On Sat, Jul. 05, 2014

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier

This weekend at Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400, Brian Vickers’ Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing will feature a special paint scheme, featuring Florida State University.

“Obviously it’s an honor to have FSU and the champions on the car this weekend,” Vickers commented. “It’s pretty cool.  We’ve had an opportunity — Aaron’s has presented an opportunity to have some national champions over the years.  I’m glad to bring it home to Florida.  It’s always great to have the home state — at least where I live — on the car and obviously here in Daytona.  It always bodes well for the fan interaction.  We usually get some pretty great cheers out of it, but it’s cool.  What these guys and what this team accomplished is no small feat and the task we have ahead of us this weekend is no small feat.

“Putting this car in victory lane would obviously mean a lot to the FSU fans, but also to this Aaron’s Dream Machine team and a win at Daytona would be huge.  That’s our goal this weekend and we’re going to do everything we can to make it happen.”

Vickers added for Aaron’s to showcase FSU and other universities on the car as they have throughout the season, it shows the “national emphasis they have on education period”.  It also goes beyond the special paint schemes as Vickers spend times Boys & Girls Clubs from various regions throughout the year in promoting the importance of education and STEM – Science, technology, engineering and math.

“It’s something that’s important to them as a company and then obviously their involvement in the sport is important to them as a company and they have a huge fan base here and they try to kind of tie it all together,” Vickers commented. “But, bringing the kids out here and showing them how important an education is into the workplace particularly in this sport is a big part of it.  I think this college tie in is all kind of part of that national reach they have to promote education.”

This year, though, hasn’t gone as Vickers has hoped as his Michael Waltrip Racing team – even teammate Clint Bowyer – hasn’t been up for contending for wins as they have in the past.

“There’s a constant evolution of the sport of guys adapting to rule changes and pushing rules changes to the boundary and I think that it’s certainly played a lot into what’s going on this year,” Vickers commented.

Vickers feels that teams like his have fallen behind to the bigger teams like Hendrick Motorsports and Penske Racing, as those teams have utilized their alliances.

“Hendrick is essentially an eight car team.  I know there’s a rule that says they’re only supposed to have four but clearly that’s not the case,” Vickers pointed out. “I mean, they share chassis, they share engineering, they share setups, they share engines, they share pretty much anything with Stewart-Haas so it makes them an eight car team.  For that reason they adapt to changes the fastest.  They have more tests, they have more time, they have more people working on one problem and if one person figures it out they can share that information among all of them and for that reason they tend to adapt the fastest and are able to push things the furthest.”

As he gets closer to Richmond, though, Vickers says that the importance of being caught up and having that win grows and is indeed in the back of his mind always.

“Every single time I get in that race car every single time I work with a crew I just try to put my very best foot forward and do it with honesty, integrity and passion and that’s all I can do,” Vickers commented. “If that’s not enough on a given weekend, that’s just not enough.  But, as long as you put your very best on the table every single week, you walk out of there and you go onto the next one and you just get on with it.  Someone told me a quote recently, ‘Give up all hope of a better past because there’s nothing you can do to change it.’  You’ve kind of just have to get on with it and I think part of that is just living in the moment and focusing on winning and doing the best we can today in practice, doing the best we can tomorrow in qualifying and doing the best you can in the race.  Especially when you’re in a car every single day it just all kind of blurs.  You just go out there and you just go fast and have fun.”

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