Monday, June 30, 2008

To Make a Bad Day Even Worse …

… Red Bull Racing Team had to strap on its hip waders just to leave New Hampshire Motor Speedway, because the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 was a tough one to swallow — and there was no shortage of water to wash it down.

Pit strategy propelled Brian Vickers to the top five, but it was also the team’s undoing. During a caution period on lap 274, the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, running close to empty, pitted for right-side tires and fuel with several other front-runners. But seven cars stayed out, and the skies that had been threatening finally opened up eight laps later.

Brian was stuck back in 16th, and he stayed there when NASCAR cut the race 17 laps short. Now 16th in points, he lost little ground on the Chase. He’s 113 points from the top 12.

“We had a top-five car — at least a top-10 car — and the car was finally handling the way I wanted,” Brian said. “I think we really would have had something for the cars in front of us. We were about 8-9 laps short on fuel so they decided to bring me in for right-side tires and fuel when the last caution came out. Unfortunately for us, the rain started. It’s frustrating because today was a great opportunity to make up some ground on the top 12.”

AJ Allmendinger’s day went up in flames on lap 202 when an oil line broke on the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota. Oil leaked onto the engine headers and caught fire. AJ stopped, bailed out and made a trip to the care center.

After starting 10th and maintaining that status in the early going, he ended up 43rd. The No. 84 sits 38th in the owner standings — 161 points from the top 35.

“We started off the race good, and we just kept screwing the car up with each change we made,” AJ said. “It’s just frustrating. We’re better than this as a team and we just need to have some good results.”

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Random Observations: Loudon

Mental notes from a gloomy Sunday morning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:

+ The infield scoring tower shows only the top seven positions. Nowhere is there a statistical category that recognizes a top-seven finish. A seventh-place showing usually falls under the top-10 banner.

+ If Red Bull Racing Team had a nickel for every Boston Red Sox hat seen throughout the weekend …

+ Hey, people who took their grandstand seats at 7:50 a.m., the race doesn’t start for another six hours.

+ The Web site has never seen so much traffic from the southern New Hampshire area.

+ When a Red Bull Racing team member is walking through garage with nothing but a lanyard around his neck, please don’t shout … “Hey, dude, got any Red Bull?” Because he doesn’t.

+ AJ Allmendinger said it best when New Hampshire doesn’t need to add banking, which has been the rumor floating around. The diversity in tracks, AJ said, is what makes the Sprint Cup circuit so challenging. But Bruton Smith, the chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc., said Sunday morning that there are “plans” in the works.

For the couch potatoes out there …

+ No. 83 over-the-wall crewmen Shaun Peet and Brian Haaland will be featured during TNT’s pre-race broadcast (12:30 p.m. ET). The two former college hockey players spent Thursday evening on the ice with TNT pit reporter Lindsay Czarniak.

+ AJ’s No. 84 starts 10th, while BV’s No. 83 takes the green flag in 40th for today’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 (2 p.m.).

+ Driving Eddie Sharp Racing’s No. 2 Red Bull Toyota, Scott Speed qualified eight for today’s ARCA race north of the border at Cayuga Motor Speedway (1:30 p.m.). It’s not on TV, so visit

Friday, June 27, 2008

Scott's Back in Action

In a stunning development, Scott Speed just chilled at his Mount Holly, N.C., home during some rare down time. He had been racing each week for nearly three months.

“I was MIA,” he said. “I lost myself in my house for two days. Turned off my phone and just recovered.”

Well rested, Scott returns to ARCA action this weekend north of the border at Cayuga Motor Speedway — a .625-mile short track in Nelles Corners, Ontario. Driving Eddie Sharp Racing’s No. 2 Red Bull Toyota, Scott sits second in the race for the ARCA championship. He’s only 95 points behind leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

His last short track start came in May at Toledo, where he finished sixth.

“We did all right,” Scott said. “We should have won the thing, to be honest. We had a couple of things go wrong, but we were still pretty competitive. We’ve made improvements on the short-track car. (Cayuga) is a basic half-mile track. I think we’re going to have a very, very fast car.”

Scott’s next scheduled Craftsman Truck race with Bill Davis Racing isn’t until August at Bristol.

Cup blurb: Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger shake down their Red Bull Toyotas at noon ET. Qualifying for the Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire begins at 3:10 p.m.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ice to Asphalt — and Back

Shaun Peet, an imposing jack man, and Brian Haaland, a fleet-footed tire changer, will be featured during TNT’s pre-race broadcast before the Lenox Industrial Tools 300.

The two crewmen on the No. 83 are former ice hockey players. Peet (above) played at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., spending four seasons as a defenseman for the Big Green from 1994 to 1998. The 32-year-old went on to play at the minor league level. Haaland was a goaltender at the University of Nebraska-Omaha from 1999 to 2004.

They’ll spend Thursday evening at Tri-Town Arena in Hookset, N.H., reliving old times on the ice with TNT pit reporter Lindsay Czarniak. The segment “Lindsay on Location” will air during Sunday’s pre-race broadcast beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Be sure to check out the Nos. 83 and 84 in Friday's first practice (noon ET) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Then they'll qualify at 3:10 p.m.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eyes in the Sky

Think spotters have it easy during Sprint Cup races? Think they’re just kicking back and relaxing, perched high above the speedway to see every move down below?

Certainly, that wasn’t the case last weekend at Infineon Raceway.

“We’re on a hill that is infested with snakes, all kinds of little termites, bugs and different animals,” said Chris Lambert, the No. 83 spotter and voice in Brian Vickers’ ear. “I have seen little lizards and actually had one crawl up my back. It’s just a running joke up there. Everyone plays with the leaves, making things rattle around while you’re spotting.”

On a hillside above turns three and 3a, Lambert and AJ Allmendinger’s spotter, Tim Fedewa, guided their drivers around the 1.99-mile, 12-turn road course. It was a difficult task, too, as they momentarily lost their drivers in turn 11 and through the frontstrech on each lap.

In years past, many teams utilized two spotters on road courses, but that can create too much cross chatter on the radio. So for Red Bull Racing Team, just one extra set of eyes.

Despite the challenges of spotting at a road course, Lambert said it’s nothing compared Bristol.

“Under green at Bristol, you’re really handcuffed,” Lambert said. “If you’re right there, you going to get caught up in it.”

Monday, June 23, 2008

Like Night and Day

One car was solid. The other struggled. Either way, Red Bull Racing Team took a giant step at Infineon Raceway.

“If we look back at it, 12 months ago it was a really bad weekend for Red Bull,” said Elton Sawyer, the team’s competition director.

Infineon 2007 was a dark day in the history of Red Bull Racing. In the team’s first crack at a road course, Brian Vickers’ No. 83 and AJ Allmendinger’s No. 84 were in the bottom seven in opening practice, qualified 42nd and 43rd and went home two days early.

Now, fast forward to the 2008 version of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Brian qualified 26th, AJ 36th. Brian finished 14th, AJ 37th after the No. 84 team battled electrical problems and fell two laps down.

Still, huge strides were made in a fairly uneventful road course race.

“I was proud of everyone,” Sawyer said.

Brian’s fourth-straight top 15 finish helped him climb to 15th in the driver standings. He’s 104 points from earning the Chase’s 12th and final invitation. AJ and the No. 84 sit 37th in the owner standings — 129 points out of the top 35.

Up Next: Lenox Industrial Tools 300, New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, N.H., Sunday, June 29

Friday, June 20, 2008

AJ Returns to NoCal

During his 2007 rookie season, AJ Allmendinger missed the chance to show off his road racing ability in the last visit to 1.99-mile, 12-turn Infineon Raceway.

“Last year was one of the most disappointing to miss just because it was a home race and it was one of the road course races,” AJ said. “I was bummed.”

His hometown of Los Gatos, Calif., is only 100 miles away. At Infineon, AJ’s the local boy. “I’ll see my family and friends. They always come out,” he said. “It’s a busy weekend for sure, and there’s so much to do around Sonoma. But to me, it’s just another race and I’ll be focused on getting the job done.”

AJ is coming off his third top-20 finish in the past four races Sunday at Michigan. The 19-place run helped the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota pick up 30 points on the top 35 while remaining 37th in the car owner standings.

Sprint Cup cars practice for 90 minutes beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET. Then they’ll qualify for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 (7:05 p.m. ET). BV’s 83 goes out 20th, while AJ’s 84 is 44th in line.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Testing Log: Sonoma

Infineon 2007 still stings technical director John Probst. Here’s why: Brian’s No. 83 and AJ’s No. 84 (above) were in the bottom seven and combined for only 20 laps in opening practice. Then the cars were 42nd and 43rd in qualifying and went home two days early.

“We had some struggles,” Probst said. “We weren’t mature enough as a team to overcome some of the problems and adversity that hit us at Sonoma last year. This year, we’re more prepared and more mature as a race team. We’re in pretty good shape to perform well there.”

During a recent string of testing at Virginia International Raceway — a road course with similar characteristics as 1.99-mile, 12-turn Infineon — Red Bull Racing Team and the R&D bunch logged 560 miles. Each driver spent three days at VIR, with Brian totaling 319 miles, AJ 241. The team also spent two days before the season testing at Sebring, where AJ “beat up brakes and gear boxes” for 340 miles on the bumpy central Florida circuit.

And to prepare for the August race at Watkins Glen, the team will spend two days at Road Atlanta in mid-July and another at VIR.

“We have to prioritize things. The majority of our races are intermediate and short track races with a few superspeedway and road course events — six races a year,” Probst noted. “We have to keep that in mind, but we also view that, with AJ in the car, that should be one of our strengths. We want to take every opportunity we can to run well on the road courses.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rebeaud Lassos Victory

Swiss rider Mat Rebeaud soared to victory in America’s first Red Bull X-Fighters event Saturday at the Fort Worth Stockyards. Twelve of the world’s best freestyle moto X riders competed in front of 20,000 fans celebrating a rodeo theme.

Rebeaud won the season opener in Mexico City and used a daring jump called the Backflip Superman Indy to defeat Jeremy Stenberg in the final. Another American, Jeremy Lusk, finished third.

“This is my first win in America,” Rebeaud said. “I gave it everything on my last jump, and if anything had gone wrong I would have paid heavily. I was under massive pressure, but the feeling of relief now is indescribable.”

After three events, Rebeaud leads the overall classification with 280 points. Stenberg is second (235) and Robbie Maddison third (165). The next event is July 4 at the converted Oetelshofen Quarry in Germany.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fuel Mileage at MIS: Shocking

In typical Michigan fashion, conservation was key. The Lifelock 400 came down to fuel mileage.

Brian Vickers’ No. 83 Red Bull Toyota, one of the race’s dominant cars before finishing fourth, gave up the lead on lap 188 to pit for a splash of gas. Once the stops cycled through, Brian found himself in the top five.

A caution flag waved with three laps to go when the No. 77 spun, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. NASCAR lined up the No. 83 in fourth, behind the No. 8 of Mark Martin, in front of the No. 17 of Matt Kenseth and much to Brian’s dismay. He never could mount a charge on the restart with the slower No. 8 up ahead.

“We kind of got it taken away from us,” Brian said. “We passed the 8 car about two laps before the caution came out and for some reason NASCAR wanted to put them back in front of us. That pretty much cost us the race right there in my mind.”

So Brian settled for another top-five finish — the team’s second in a row after a runner-up showing June 8 at Pocono. From his 18th starting position, Brian charged into the lead in a mere 33 laps and led four times for 44. He moved up one spot in the standings to 16th and gained 15 points in the race to the Chase. He’s 97 points out of 12th.

AJ Allmendinger felt the effects of fuel mileage, too.

He started 39th and motored into the top 15 by lap 120, even leading a circuit not long after. “There you go,” spotter Tim Fedewa yelled as AJ picked off car after car.

While running second with four laps to go, the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota peeled onto pit road for fuel and four tires. The sequence, however, didn’t play into AJ’s favor, and he returned to the track in 22nd. He could do no better than 19th at the checkered flag.

“We started off and the thing was great. We just kept picking them off one by one,” AJ said. “The car was great. Pit strategy sucks. We need to learn how to do pit strategy.”

Still, AJ climbed three spots to 40th in the driver standings after his third top-20 finish in the past four races. The No. 84 is gaining in the top 35, too. It picked up 30 points while remaining 37th in the car owner standings.

Up Next: Toyota/Save Mart 350, Sunday, June 22, Infineon Raceway

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thanks, Old Man

Dads were a big part in the driving development of Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger. With Father’s Day upon us, the two drivers have made sure everyone knows who helped get them to the Sprint Cup level.

Brian’s skill showed at an early age — first in karts, then Allison Legacy cars, then late model stocks and into his days in the Hooters Pro Cup Series. In 2001, Brian debuted in the Nationwide Series and in 2002 made 21 starts as the only rookie driver with an independent team, driving father Clyde’s No. 40.

“My dad is crucial to where I’m at, and my dad was big part of what got me here,” Brian said. “He always encouraged me, always wanted me to do whatever made me happy. My mom always wanted me to win. My dad always made me earn it. He made me want to win — very badly.”

Greg Allmendinger, a former racer, first noticed AJ caught the fever at the ripe old age of two. But it wasn’t easy financing his son’s pursuit to be a professional racer. To keep AJ’s dream alive, Greg and Karen Allmendinger mortgaged their suburban San Jose, Calif., home on three occasions, each time taking away some $30,000.

“Where I’m at is because of him,” AJ said. “He was racing before I was ever born. I was at the race track every night watching him race. I was watching him race local dirt tracks. I got the passion and thrill of victory from him. Basically, everything I am is because of my dad. It’s quite simple … I wouldn’t be doing any of this if it weren’t for him.”

Brian’s No. 83 starts 18th, AJ’s No. 84 39th in today’s Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway (2 p.m. ET, TNT).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

BV Goes Big Off the Tee

No U.S. Open, no Tiger Woods and no nude beaches off the 13th tee. Still, Brian Vickers showed he can drive much more than a race car.

Brian, 24, won the second round of the HP Tee Shot Tour on Thursday at The Grande Golf Club in Jackson, Mich. On the lighted 395-yard par 4 first hole, Brian’s ball traveled great distances as he won the driver and team categories. He was paired with Kevin Bullard, who’s a regular in the power golf series with NASCAR drivers and long drive professionals.

The winning cumulative score at the end of six events will have $25,000 donated in their name to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Some of the NASCAR competition includes Elliott Sadler, J.J. Yeley, Marcos Ambrose, Stephen Leicht and David Ragan.

As for the whole nude beach thing, locals really can strut in the buff at Black’s Beach, which is about a wedge away from this weekend’s U.S. Open gallery gathering around the tee box on No. 13 at Torrey Pines.

Cup at Michigan: Qualifying was rained out, meaning Brian’s No. 83 starts 18th and AJ Allmendinger’s No. 84 rolls off 39th in Sunday’s Lifelock 400. They have two practice sessions today (noon and 1:20 p.m. ET).

Speed at Michigan: After starting from the pole and leading 14 laps, Scott Speed finished fourth in Saturday’s rain-delayed ARCA race, won by Eddie Sharp Racing teammate Justin Lofton. He still has the Craftsman Truck race to run at 3 p.m.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Numbers Say It All

It’s Friday the 13th, but that doesn’t mean luck isn’t on the side of Red Bull Racing Team this weekend at Michigan.

Consider the numbers:

+ Scott Speed, in the No. 2 Red Bull Toyota, took the pole for today’s ARCA race. He was the only driver to eclipse the 185-mph mark, and he starts along Eddie Sharp Racing teammate Justin Lofton.

+ In Brian Vickers’ last trip to 2-mile Michigan, he finished eighth in the No. 83. This could be another opportunity to gain some serious ground on the Chase. He’s only 112 points out of the top 12.

+ BV’s teammate, AJ Allmendinger, has momentum on his side, too. He’s coming off back-to-back eighth-place qualifying efforts and a career-best finish of 12th at Pocono. Also of note is that AJ climbed two spots in the owner standings to 37th. He’s only 140 points out of the top 35.

+ Scott has 100 more laps to race Saturday. He’ll drive Bill Davis Racing’s No. 22 Red Bull Toyota in the Craftsman Truck race.

+ Tune into “Trackside” at 8 tonight to watch AJ chat about the team’s recent success. He’ll visit the Speed set at around 8:30 p.m.

The goings-on at MIS:
Sprint Cup practice, 11:30 a.m. ET, Speed
Craftsman Truck practice, 1:30 p.m., Speed
Sprint Cup qualifying, 3:10 p.m., Speed
ARCA Wildlife 200, 5:15 p.m., Speed
Sprint Cup practice, noon and 1:20 p.m., Speed
Craftsman Truck Cool City 200, 3 p.m., Speed
Sprint Cup Lifelock 400, 2 p.m., TNT

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

X-Fighting in Fort Worth

The Wild West unites with the modern spectacle of freestyle moto X, as the Red Bull X-Fighters visit the Fort Worth Stockyards on Saturday.

It’s the first United States stop on the X-Fighters tour — the world’s most progressive FMX series. In Fort Worth, the third of five 2008 events, a rodeo theme will include fireworks, rodeo queens and bull riders, making it a night to remember for spectators and riders alike.

Swiss rider Mat Rebeaud claimed victory in April at the Plaza de Toros — the world’s largest bullfighting arena in Mexico City. Last month, American Jeremy Stenberg (pictured) won at the Sambadromo in Rio de Janeiro. Rebeaud leads Stenberg (180-155) in the points standings entering Fort Worth.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

In the closing stages of Sunday's Pocono 500, crew chief Kevin Hamlin opted not to pit during a lap 178 caution period. The No. 83 stayed out, and on older tires maintained the lead until Kasey Kahne passed Brian Vickers with 15 laps to go.

Still, the No. 83 finished second and earned Red Bull Racing Team’s best finish. The quick thinking and strategy gave Hamlin the title of WYPALL Wipers crew chief of the race.

“Kevin made all the right calls,” Brian admitted Tuesday, “and it paid off with the team’s best finish. He, and we, deserve it.”

Kevin earned a cool $1,000 upon his return to Michigan. He’s from Kalamazoo — a mere 80 miles from Brooklyn.

Kevin leads Red Bull Racing Team’s strong race-day contingent from the Wolverine State. AJ’s spotter, former driver Tim Fedewa, hails from Holt. And over-the-wall crewmen Jake Brzozowski (rear tire carrier, No. 83) and Andrew Turner (jackman, No. 84) are natives of Sterling Heights and Coloma, respectively.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Red Bull's Best Weekend

Not-so-fresh rubber was all that separated the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota from victory. A late caution was all that kept the No. 84 from its first top-10 finish. But second place isn’t bad, and neither is 12th.

Statistically, the Pocono 500 weekend was Red Bull Racing Team’s best in the Sprint Cup Series. Brian Vickers earned the team’s best finish in its brief existence when the No. 83 led 18 laps before finishing second to Kasey Kahne. Teammate AJ Allmendinger, who qualified eighth in the No. 84, ran a career-best 12th and gained significant ground on the top 35.

“I felt like we had the best car on the race track at the end of the race,” Brian said. “We just didn’t have any tires.”

Brian pitted on lap 165 for four tires and fuel and stayed on the track when the yellow flag waved 12 laps later. Kahne, riding on Goodyear Eagles with a slightly longer lifespan, took the lead on lap 184, while Brian fought off Denny Hamlin the rest of the way to hold second.

With his second top five of the season and fourth at Pocono, Brian moved up two spots in points to 17th. He’s 112 points out of the Chase’s 12th and final berth.

“I’m pleased, but not satisfied,” Brian said. “I had a really good car there at the end and good strategy — and a good finish.”

AJ held a spot in the top 10 for the most of the day and kept flirting with the top five. The No. 84 took four tires during a green-flag stop on lap 174, but the caution quickly waved a few laps later and AJ got stuck back in 23rd. Still, he rallied for the best points finish of his career and moved to 37th in the car owner standings. He’s 140 points out of the top 35.

“The 84 guys have been on their ‘A’ game for qualifying,” AJ said. “I feel a lot more comfortable in running in qualifying, going and getting a lap and still making the race and not overdoing it. But, we’ve just been missing that good race to go out there. So, it’s good to finally just put everything together.”

Saturday, June 07, 2008

From Ovals to the Diamond

Call it “The House That Ruth Built” or simply “The Stadium.” Either way, Red Bull Racing Team lived a piece of history Thursday.

On the way to Pocono Raceway, Brian Vickers, AJ Allmendinger and the two road crews took a detour to the Bronx for the New York Yankees-Toronto Blue Jays game at Yankee Stadium — arguably the most famous sports venue in the United States.

This season is the last for the ballpark, built in 1923, that has seen the Yankees clinch 16 World Series titles there. The new Yankee Stadium opens in 2009.

It was quite an afternoon. The team visited Monument Park behind the centerfield wall, had a block of seats right behind home plate and met Yankees trainer Gene Monahan, who was wearing a RBRT hat when the team arrived. They even got a glimpse of Jason Giambi, who belted a walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Yankees’ a 9-8 victory.

The fun was over at the point. Waiting was a 3.5-hour bus ride to Pocono.

Speaking of Pocono, Brian and AJ take to the 2.5-mile track for two practices today (10 and 11:20 a.m. ET) before Sunday’s Sprint Cup race. AJ’s No. 84 starts eighth, Brian’s No. 83 15th in the Pocono 500.

And don’t forget that Scott Speed, who finished 26th in Friday’s Craftsman Truck race at Texas, leads the ARCA field to the green flag for today’s race (1 p.m.).

Friday, June 06, 2008

Lots of Miles — By Land and Air

Scott Speed hardly had the chance to celebrate his first victory in the Craftsman Truck Series. After winning one week ago at Dover, Scott bolted for the Red Bull Air Race World Series event in Detroit, and now he has a double-duty weekend on his hands, one that spans some 1,500 miles.

He was fastest in practice and took his first ARCA pole in Eddie Sharp Racing’s No. 2 Red Bull Toyota today at Pocono. Now he's off to Texas Motor Speedway for the truck race. Michael Annett is shaking down and qualifying Bill Davis Racing’s No. 22 Red Bull Toyota for the Sam’s Town 400. Scott will then jet set back to Pocono for Saturday’s ARCA Pocono 200.

“Looking at the track layout,” Scott said of 2.5-mile Pocono, “all three corners are quite different. Pocono seems to be a track that fits my driving style.”

Apparently, so.

On the Sprint Cup front …

AJ Allmendinger’s No. 84 was sixth and Brian Vickers’ No. 83 ninth in Friday’s practice. Qualifying for the Pocono 500 is set for 3:40 p.m. ET.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Kirby Claims Detroit

The Red Bull Air Race World Series completed its swing through the United States, with American Kirby Chambliss winning Sunday’s race above the Detroit River in front of 750,000 fans watching from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border.

Chambliss defeated Britain’s Paul Bonhomme in the final, but Bonhomme collected eight points for second to climb further ahead in the championship standings. His 26 points lead Chambliss, Hannes Arch of Austria and American Mike Mangold, who are in a three-way tie for second with 21.

The six-race European leg begins July 5-6 in Stockholm.

“They’re all my rivals now,” said Bonhomme, who dominated the first two events in Abu Dhabi and San Diego.

Visit for more details.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Thoughts While It's Hot

Random observations while pacing a steamy pit road at Dover:
+ Popsicles, the kind where you either bite or scissor off the tip, make men in firesuits look like kids again.
+ Seventy-pound Goodyear Eagles make for a nice seat during long green-flag runs.
+ Some fans apparently think that fanny packs are still cool. (Were they ever?)
+ Red Bull Formula One driver David Coulthard, a winner of 13 grands prix, went unnoticed to the untrained eye. What a shame.
+ Loud. Loud. Loud.
+ Imagine what it used to be like racing for 500 miles here. They last did it in 1997.
+ After the 11th time, lost count on the question, “Do you have any Red Bull in there?”
+ The “Big One” arrived from Talladega on lap 15.
+ Still loud.
+ Chicken wings and brats don’t seem to be the healthiest of choices for chubby crewmen a few stalls down.
+ A speeding ticket sucks.
+ A second speeding ticket sucks even more.
+ Note to fan: Ask for an autograph before or after the race. Not during.
+ It’s gotta be hot as %#@^ in those cars.
+ Do we really have to go to Pocono this week?

Monday, June 02, 2008

Too Fast Two Many Times — Supposedly

The number in question is 3,900. To avoid a speeding ticket, that’s what the tachometer, which measures RPMs in the Red Bull Toyotas, must read in second gear entering and exiting pit road at Dover International Speedway.

Brian Vickers insisted the No. 83 never exceeded 3,900 RPMs. NASCAR said different. And what NASCAR says goes, so Brian was smacked with two penalties for “excessive speed” leaving the pits, this while exiting the third pit stall and having only minimal distance to cover.

The first penalty was a pass-through on lap 231, and the No. 83 fell from sixth to 17th. The second, on lap 245, sent Brian to the tail end of the longest line. He never could make up the laps he lost and finished two laps down in 13th in Sunday’s Best Buy 400.

“I still don’t think I sped, but you can’t argue with (NASCAR). It is what it is,” Brian said. “If you tried to speed off of pit road, you couldn’t speed that late (referring to leaving the third pit stall). The second time was ridiculous. I was still in first gear. It’s 3,900 in second gear, and I was in first gear the second time. There’s no way. Absolutely no way.”

Still, Brian gained a spot in points. He’s 19th — 197 points out of the Chase’s 12th and final spot.

Teammate AJ Allmendinger, after starting eighth, ended up 37th in the No. 84. He battled a loose condition in the first half of the 400-mile race, but then fuel pressure problems surfaced on lap 151. He pitted, the No. 84 Bull Crew added fuel but the car died on the track. A trip to the garage revealed a broken fuel pump drive cable. After that, it was all about turning laps.

The No. 84 remains 39th in the owner standings — 203 points from the top 35.