Saturday, March 31, 2007

Looking Forward to Sunday

Tonight the truck race didn't go exactly as AJ wanted. He did however gain some valuable experience that will hopefully help him in tomorrow's Cup race. AJ ran in the top 10-15 most of the day, and unfortunately was caught up in an accident with only 2 laps to go that led to a 20th place finish.

Friday morning was the first time AJ had ever even seen Martinsville, so to even make the field for the Cup race was a feat in and of itself. The main thing the #84 team needs right now is points... points that will get them closer to the elusive Top 35. If AJ can stay strong out on the track tomorrow, the team should be able to come away with a solid finish.

Friday, March 30, 2007

It Worked!

This morning AJ, along with the other Cup rookies, participated in a Raybestos Rookie Orientation to Martinsville with Ricky Rudd. They met out on the start/finish line this morning to ask questions and walk around the track's "tricky spots" - with Ricky giving his advice and secrets along the way. AJ must have learned something because he qualified for his second Cup race in a row with a lap time of 20.321. The #84 crew was holding their breath for the last go-or-go-home cars to make their qualifying laps to make sure AJ's lap time stuck. It did, and that locked him into the 40th starting position for Sunday's race. We do not know what advice Ricky must have given him, but it obviously worked.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

TRB: Episode III

It's not the Rebellion crushing the Empire in "Star Wars," but Team Red Bull's trilogy has forced out its own drama on Speed TV. All the folks at "Survival of the Fastest" hope is that they did Team Red Bull justice, which they did through chopping three weeks worth of video and sound into three 30-minute programs that have proven to the NASCAR nation just how hard it is to compete at this level.

The viewing public got a true taste of AJ's personality. Brian showed just how frustrating life is when an out-of-the-loop fan asked him if he qualified for the Las Vegas race, which, of course, he hadn't. And then there was the collective sigh of relief at Bristol. In between, shop guys got a little pub, too. Episode three of "Survival of the Fastest: Team Red Bull" will first air at 10 a.m. ET Friday (March 30). It'll re-air at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and then again at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

While you're in the TV-watching mood, check out Team Red Bull on Wendy Venturini's Real Deal segment, part of Speed TV's "NASCAR RaceDay" show that begins at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday. Then, on Fox TV's 1:30 p.m. ET pre-race show, AJ and other Nextel Cup rookies absorb all Ricky Rudd has to offer about keeping clean around Martinsville Speedway.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hot Doggin' Around Track

AJ will trade in his PlayStation 3 controller for a No. 2 pencil because class in is session this Friday on the frontstretch at Martinsville. Driving Professor Ricky Rudd will instruct AJ and his fellow Cup rookies (like JPM) on the fine art of getting around NASCAR’s shortest flat track and saving their brakes in the process. It’s being billed as the Raybestos Martinsville Rookie Orientation and will air during Fox TV’s pre-race telecast beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 1. Wonder if the famous Martinsville red hot chili dog is on Ricky's lesson plan?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Get Off My Back!

At Tuesday's team meeting, which was the first following AJ's first Cup race, the team presented AJ with a 'Got the Gorilla Off My Back' pinata. It took three blindfolded swings for AJ to crack open the pinata. Out fell an assortment of Little Debbie snacks, in tribute to the Kenny Schraders' Little Debbies #21 car that punted AJ into the outside wall at Bristol on Sunday. Welcome to NASCAR, Rookie! Even though it was a rookie mistake to come down on Kenny when he wasn't clear, AJ still got his revenge today and the team got a good laugh.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The First of Many

It felt like everyone wanted a piece of AJ on Sunday, including media and fans. He was the talk of the town, if you will. NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED requested a pre-race interview with AJ about 30 minutes before the green flag (as shown in the picture being interviewed by Wendy Venturini). He remained calm and took everything in stride - even after the accident with the #21 on lap 150. His crew did an awesome job of working together to get the #84 car back on the track so AJ could log laps and gain experience.

So for AJ, one race down, many more to come!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Burning Up At Bristol

Brian was on the hot seat — literally — at Bristol.
His Team Red Bull Toyota encountered an exhaust problem that leaked fumes and heat into the cockpit, and as Brian grew hotter and hotter the No. 83 team tried to slip some padding atop his burning seat and floorboard. Ice helped cool him off, too, and waiting for him after 504 long laps was fresh oxygen and a precautionary visit to the care center. But, like the trooper he is, Brian picked up five crucial bonus points for leading a lap and finished on the lead circuit in 15th.
And then there was AJ's first Nextel Cup race. His No. 84 spent 80 or so laps in the garage while right-side damage was repaired. AJ returned and was running at the finish in 40th.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Reason to Celebrate

There were lots of congrats going around the track after qualifying yesterday. Many of AJ's fellow NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers (like Dale Jr above) sought him out to offer congrats. Someone else who can definitely feel AJ's excitement is Jeremy Mayfield, who will also be starting his first Cup race of the season for Toyota. Both guys are just glad not to have to answer the question "when you are going to make a race" again!

Last night, to celebrate both TRB cars making the field, AJ, Brian and some TRB folks went to dinner at a mexican restaurant near the track. Of course we made a point to celebrate AJ's "NASCAR Birthday", complete with fried ice cream and an oversized sombrero! (as you can see from the picture).

Friday, March 23, 2007

Two in the Show!

Well folks, today is a good day. Both Red Bulls got into Sunday's show. Brian put down a lap early on that held up to be 25th fastest. And then there was AJ, who at the second from last qualifying slot (49 out of 50), kept those in raceshop on the edge of their seats. Putting it into the wall on his qualifying run got a big gasp from the breakroom crowd, but AJ kept his foot on the pedal and registered a time good enough to be the final non-top 35 owner points qualifier. Crew chief Ricky Viers had to tell him to take care of his car at the end of his qualifying lap, cause you know AJ was looking for someone to hug inside his car. He qualified 35th, but will start 43rd because of crazy NASCAR rule, but that is moot. He's in the show, and may this date define the rest of his career. Mark it down! A good day indeed.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Salvaged Art

After a race car gets crashed, the team is left with a heap of metal. Some is salvageable. Some isn't. Throw it away, you ask? Not here. The sheet metal from Brian's crashed No. 83 is being put to use this weekend by Preston, an artist who will perform a live art show in Red Bull's hospitality area at Bristol Motor Speedway this Sunday. Crashed parts tend to walk away on their own at race shops, so the fellas in fabrication taped a warning on this wholesome batch. That especially goes to Bob in the paint and body shop. We will have to report back on Preston's masterpiece next week. But if it is anything like the Bull he constructed from car parts for Daytona, it should be a doozy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

COT Gives AJ Wings

This weekend in Bristol marks the premiere of the new Car of Tomorrow (COT) that features a larger car body shape, more safety, a front splitter, and most importantly for us, a rear wing. AJ claims he feels a little more "at home" having a wing on his car again like back in his Champ Car days. What won’t feel at home to AJ are 43 cars crammed into the banking of the .533-mile oval that is surrounded by grandstands. At last month’s COT testing at Bristol, AJ was heard muttering ‘Oh, my God…Oh, my God…Oh, my God’ louder and louder as he walked into the track for the first time. Little does he know that a race here is “out of this world” and quite fitting for the COT debut. Like the COT, AJ is ready to turn Tomorrow into Today.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

BV On The Web

We gave AJ’s new website some love yesterday, so now it’s Brian’s turn. Check out the revamped to get all Brian, all the time. News, pics, merchandise, old school racing photos, and of course, Club V: The Brian Vickers Fan Club. While we’re plugging websites, has some new content. Check it out...

Monday, March 19, 2007

AJ Online

Many of you have asked about AJ's official website. Well ask and you shall receive! As of last Friday, it is now officially up and running. Check it out at The site will keep you up to date on all the latest and greatest from AJ - on and off the track. There is a place on the site where you can ask AJ anything... and he will try to respond to each and every question. So have some fun with it!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

No Luck St. Patty's Weekend

There was a Young Man who led his first laps of the year
Despite having only seven cylinders to steer
Then when lap 228 came around
He heard a loud sound
It was the 16 and 00 crashing into him from the rear

There is another Young Man who needs a break
For it’s another race he did not make
This time it was an engine malfunction
Just as the season reaches a critical junction
May Bristol bring him good luck for goodness sake

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ready for Round 2!

Brian drove his Bull into the 31st starting position for Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway marking just 4 Toyota’s that made it into the field. Tune in to Fox tomorrow at 2:00 PM (Eastern) to see how the No. 83 Bull Crew fairs in the race. Lady luck is still not on AJ’s side. Engine problems took him out of qualifying and out of his fourth attempt at making into a Cup race this season. AJ was on a stellar run in the Truck race last night moving from 26th position all the way to 7th and running strong with the Truck Series regulars until the #00 hit some trouble with just 13 laps to go – ending AJ’s night. He’ll get ‘em next time!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Lucky Dog? Let's Hope So!

Tonight AJ will run the Atlanta truck race in the Aarons Lucky Dog Toyota Tundra truck for Darryll Waltrip Motorsports. In last fall's truck race, AJ ran well and even led some laps. Let's hope the "Lucky Dog" brings AJ and Brian some luck for Cup Qualifying tonight, too! AJ goes out 23rd, Brian 39th.

Tune in for Cup Quals at 7:10 pm and the Truck race at 9:00 pm - both on the SPEED Channel.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Traffic Alert

For those of you who will make the journey to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend, beware of the traffic nightmare that is Hwy. 19-41. Known as being one of the worst tracks to get in and out of, and in a city widely known for its own traffic issues, Atlanta Motor Speedway does offer a back way if you check a detailed map. Each week, Team Red Bull prepares an "advance" that has news, notes and quotes for auto racing media to digest prior to race weekend. To keep it lively, an editorial cartoon is included in each advance (see pic of this week's toon). Sometimes the theme is team or driver-oriented. Sometimes the theme is NASCAR-oriented. And sometimes it is location-specific, as the case for this week. Let us know your thoughts on this aerial view of AMS.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

40-Yard Dash

The guys on a NASCAR pit crew get a lot of glory for braving speeding race cars when they jump over pit wall, but they work hard to earn their way onto the crew – and to keep their coveted spot. The TRB pit crew practices live pit stops, but they also do a lot of strength and conditioning workouts and agility training. Remember the 40-yard dash in grade school? Yeah, well these guys are still working on their sprints – but you could say it’s a 40-yard dash with distractions. The pit crew lines up at the start of the dash and three guys stand off to the left of the running zone. Just as a guy starts to make his run – whoosh! – tennis balls are lobbed at him from his buddies on the side. The goal is to get down the 40-yard dash without being hit. The guys on the side throwing the tennis balls have no mercy on the runners, but we can assure you, everyone gets their turn on the side as well as in the running zone.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sitting Down With Speed

“The guys back at the shop,” as they're commonly known, took their elbows out of the grease to share their thoughts as a Speed TV crew continues to follow Team Red Bull. They’ll be hanging around the shop the rest of this week and at the Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
All the footage and sound bites are carefully being crafted into a two-part series for Speed’s “Survival of the Fastest,” an NFL Films-like documentary. Only there will be bulky stock cars instead of beefy linemen.
Tune into part one — which examines Team Red Bull’s weeklong effort to qualify at Las Vegas — on Friday at 5:30 p.m. on Speed. Part one will re-air at 8 a.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Part two, centering around preparations for Atlanta, will debut at 6:30 p.m. March 23 with three more timeslots scheduled March 24-25.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Now That's Hospitality!

Much ado has been made about what Red Bull may bring to NASCAR from a marketing standpoint. Well as seen from the earlier posts on the party, skydivers and aerobatic helicopter, Vegas certainly showed a side of the brand new to NASCAR. But perhaps the biggest (and not just in sure size) debut this past weekend was the Red Bull Energy Station hospitality structure that sat atop Turn 3 at LVMS. The 5,000 sq. ft. facility took a week to build (first time out) and featured several bars, a DJ, live painter, wide screen tv's, upper viewing deck, lounge areas complete with couches and tables, and a celebrity or two. Since he wasn't in the race, Brian hung out in the Energy Station with some friends of his from New York and LA and took in a NASCAR race as a fan. He said it has been about seven years since he did so. Not a bad place to watch it from, huh Brian?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

On-Track Activity

For those in Vegas, there still is some Red Bull on-track activity this weekend. Today prior to the Busch Series start, the Red Bull Air Force skydiving team jumped into LVMS in their typical fast moving, swirling and swooping fashion. Tomorrow Red Bull's BO-105 CBS aerobatic helicopter piloted by Chuck Aaron performs aerobatic stunts for the crowd prior to the race start. While we all would prefer to see the No. 83 and No. 84 on-track activity, these amazing professionals in the air are a sight to see.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

What Happens in Vegas...Stays in Vegas

Team Red Bull threw a little party last night. Above is the one picture we can show you. The rest of the pics and the stories from the night stay inside these doors. That's the law in Vegas.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

In-Flight Gaming

The team had their flight to Las Vegas today for this weekend's race (travel day was bumped up one day for reasons we will get into in tomorrow's blog) and the usual entertainment was happening. While most of the 40 passengers watched Remember the Titans (a let's-get-pumped-up movie) in the back of the DC-9 was AJ and the rest of the team's gamers. AJ took on all in Madden NFL Football on the wireless Sony PSPs. He remains undefeated he likes to tell you. As seen in the picture, Ben in IT has taking in the flick Without A Paddle until his computer crashed (and he runs our IT dept.!), while AJ's race engineer Phil was engaged in fantasy war playing Company Heroes on his PC, while to his right, race mechanic Dave was deep into a Formula One race on his PSP. AJ was in the midst of beating race mechanic Jacen 38-28 in Madden who was seated two rows up across the aisle. It's a long flight from Charlotte, especially with a fuel stopover in Wichita, Kansas at Yingling Aviation (yes, Yingling). That didn't stop the gamers from playing the whole flight. Even Marty the GM up front says he heard them hootin' and hollerin' all the way from the front of the plane.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Survival of the Fastest

Team Red Bull must have been really fun to watch during the Toyota Documentary because we’ve already got another TV crew knocking on our door! SPEED Channel is working on a new series called “Survival of the Fastest” and chose TRB to follow for both the Las Vegas and Atlanta races. The show uses a “fly on the wall approach” so you can see what really goes on inside NASCAR teams when they’re preparing for the next big race. With SOTF, you’re not just hearing what the drivers have to say. You’ll get the story from other perspectives like VP-General Manager Marty Gaunt, No. 83 Crew Chief Doug Richert, Pit Crew Coach Greg Miller, and Spotter Tim Fedewa. The show will air in two half hour episodes on SPEED with Part 1 airing on Sunday, March 18, and Part 2 airing on Sunday, March 25. When we get an exact air time we’ll be sure to fill you in. Stay tuned…

Monday, March 05, 2007

All Racing, All The Time

So what does a race team do on an off weekend from racing?? They go racing of course! AJ and about 15 other people from Team Red Bull took on Victory Lane Karting on Friday night. Victory Lane had arranged a 40-minute race between TRB and Yates - each person had a partner and traded off seat time in 10-minute intervals which included pit stops to change drivers. There was some heated racing, and a few people ended up in the wall. There were some first-timers and some who had raced that track for years. In the end, TRB was victorious and ended up with the top 2 spots. Hopefully this is a good indication of what to expect from our team in Las Vegas this weekend!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Heavy on the Bull

TRB is creating some unique traditions…starting with the pit crew. Every Saturday night on the road, the whole gang grabs dinner together. In Cali, the hot spot was Omaha Jack’s – a steakhouse that made sure to keep the Red Bull flowing. Being the athletes they are, the pit crew thought it would be a good idea to walk off some of their dinner. Down the road they ran into a grocery store with plenty of grocery carts lying around…just begging to be raced with. We hear it got a little rowdy racing in those karts and we also hear someone’s wife got pictures…we’ll be sure to post them as soon as we get our hands on them!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

First Timers: AJ & COT Take On Bristol

Today (and yesterday) marks the third of seven scheduled Car of Tomorrow Cup tests. Almost 70 cars have shown up for this one at Bristol Motor Speedway. Major storms are supposed to move into the area this morning. Because of this, yesterday's test session was extended to 9:00 pm in order to maximize testing time.

AJ has taken to the track well and peaked at 26th place on the speed charts yesterday. Each time out he becomes more familiar and comfortable with the track and car, and his lap times continue to improve. This is very impressive for someone who has never even seen Bristol! His only experience with this track has been through video games. Upon entering the track for the first time yesterday, he kept repeating "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh." Bristol is one of those places you have to see with your own eyes to believe it... imagine an overgrown football stadium (it holds 160,000+) with a race track a little over a half a mile long inside, steep banking (36% on corners), and a deafening noise coming from inside.

Right now, both teams are just going to try to get in as much testing as possible before the rain sets in. UPDATE: the rains did come and the testing session was cut short.