TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
Brian Vickers — Notes & Quotes
Texas Motor Speedway – April 12, 2013
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 11 FedEx Office/March of Dimes Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
What is happening this weekend with FedEx and March of Dimes?
“This is a special weekend for me in a lot of ways. Let’s focus on the important parts, the March of Dimes. This is the sixth year that FedEx has had March of Dimes on the car and the 75th anniversary of the March of Dimes. Because of the contributions of so many people and through these marches around the country, we have a special guest here, Nina (Centofanti) here with us. I’m happy to be in the car. It’s a great opportunity for me. I know what Denny (Hamlin) is going through. I’ve been in the position where I’ve been out, I’ve been sick and had someone replace, had to drive for me. My thoughts continue to be with him and I hope to do a good job with him this weekend for the entire FedEx team. Right now the focus is on trying to win this race and doing the best job we can for March of Dimes.”
How do you find balance between going all out for a win and taking care of the car to get a good finish?
“I really feel like that’s always the balance we strive for in this series. Even though I might not be racing for the championship in this car, this car is still racing for a championship. They’re still in the hunt for an owner’s championship and we have to treat it as such. Granted you get the most points by winning and I think nothing would make me happier and this team happier than to win, nothing would help in the points more than to win and nothing would help March of Dimes more than a win for the FedEx team. Does that mean we’re going to take unnecessary risk — probably not. I think a good solid day would be good for us and good for everyone.”
What can fans expect for Saturday’s race?
“I think the car has been good, the racing is as competitive as it’s ever been. From what we’ve seen, I think it’s going to be a good race. A lot of it really has to do with not even as much the Gen-6 car, although I think they made some improvements over what we’ve had in the past, is the tires and the track. It seems like we have a good tire track combination here. We have a good grip to start and it continually falls off, which in my experience makes for some great racing. We have a track now that is worn out, it’s slick, it has some bumps, it’s challenging to drive and you’re really going to have to move around. You’re going to be at the bottom of the track, you’re going to see guys at the top of the track and all that makes for a great race. Let’s face it, we’ve always had pretty good races here at Texas.”
What happened at Martinsville last weekend?
“It was a long race filled with adversity for us. I was really proud of the entire team (No. 55), having Jet Edge on the car and all the guys at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) for fighting and not giving up throughout the race. We started out, qualified really good and started out running good. We got the car a little tight and fell back. On a restart, a couple of guys got up in the marbles, the 5 (Kasey Kahne), Junior (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and there was a big 10 car pileup we were obviously involved in that, unfortunately. We had a tore up race car and had to go to the back. We got all the way back up to fifth and then we blew a left rear tire and then we came all the way back up to 11th. There was a few incidents, one of them was with the 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and the 10 (Danica Patrick) – the 10 moved the 88 coming out of turn two and then Junior seemed a little displeased the way he ran her down the track a little bit, which is understandable. It’s just racing at Martinsville. We all went in there and everybody slammed on brakes and she got a little loose and the 43 (Aric Almirola) got me and I got her. I think on TV the spotter was quick to — all of that happened because of the 55. I just wanted to clarify some of that and we had a great talk with DW (Darrell Waltrip) and a couple guys. I spoke to Junior this week and he was fine. He understood it’s Martinsville racing. I think he had a broken track bar and they were just hanging on for dear life, but none of it was obviously intentional. For me, I want to go out there and do the best I can to win. I have to race hard. We want to earn respect in the right way, not necessarily in the wrong way. Obviously there at the end of the race the 29 (Kevin Harvick) wrecked us after the checkered. I reached out to Harvick, I tried to call him and he didn’t answer. We text back and forth a few times. We were on a different page to start with and I think we ended closer to the same page, but not necessarily where we needed to be. I’d still like to spend a few minutes with him. I think he was for some reason under the impression that I put him three-wide on a restart. The reality was I started on the inside and he started on the outside and he passed someone and put himself three-wide. I had nothing to do with that. He took his frustration out on us. It’s unfortunate. It didn’t cost us anything in the race. It tore our car up, so I hate it for the team because that’s unnecessary, I guess it’s Martinsville racing, right. From my perspective it was a long day and a hard fought day. To come out of there with an 11th considering how many times we had to go to the back with how much damage we had with the car and then blowing off the rear tire and going a lap down and coming back from that, I walked away pleased, but not satisfied.”