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.