Sunday, July 13, 2008

Chicago Pays Serious Points

One streak stayed intact and another started, as Red Bull Racing Team tossed the tired (but certainly fitting) phrase “good points day” from truck to truck Saturday night.

Never has Brian Vickers finished outside the top 15 in four visits to Chicagoland Speedway. He ended up sixth in the LifeLock.com 400, and AJ wasn’t far behind in 13th in his first race there. The No. 84 Red Bull Toyota gained 78 points on the top 35 in new crew chief Jimmy Elledge’s first race since joining the organization Wednesday.

“Just a good day all around — a good day for myself and Jimmy to get acquainted and learn each other and the whole team,” AJ said.

Rain wiped out qualifying, so AJ started 39th. He shaved off 10 spots in 10 laps, and through a series of stops, adjustments to loosen up the car and a brush with the wall, AJ held top-10 status with 100 laps to go.

“Starting that far back we knew we were going to have to work a little strategy,” AJ said. “The car was pretty good — it was a little bit tight all night. Jimmy kept making good adjustments on it, small adjustments, that kept making it a little bit better. But, we were like an eighth- to 12th-place car. I think if we just could have gotten that tightness out of it we could have been right around top five.”

Brian moved up to 14th in the driver standings, gaining 17 points on the Chase’s 12th and final berth. It was the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota’s fifth top 10 of the year, and Brian hasn’t finished worse that 16th in the past seven races.

Pit strategy again propelled him into the top five, as the team opted not to pit during an early caution. Brian stayed there — or close to it — for the rest of the race until the team took four tires and fuel on its final pit stop on lap 227.

“We are all done. It’s in your hands now,” spotter Chris Lambert said. Brian responded a few laps later. “This is the best the car has felt all night,” he said. “All we need is track position right now and we would be going for the win”

He never had it and settled for sixth with seven races remaining before the Chase begins Sept. 14 at New Hampshire.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome race!!!! Congratulations to both Brian and AJ along with both teams and crews!!! (and everyone back at the shop) It really is showing how all of you are working together, one of the bulls will be in Victory Lane soon.

5:12 AM  
Anonymous Tracy said...

It's just a matter of time now. Brian has a tougher climb getting into the Chase, but if he keeps up like he has been the points will take care of themselves.

And AJ will be in the top-35 soon now and will start climbing from there. Hopefully he can get into the twenties and put plenty of space between himself and that 35th place cut-off.

A win is coming for one of them. Brian has been so close, and AJ is definitely starting to look like a contender also.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NASCAR.com has an article about Jimmy Elledge coming to Red Bull.
Good points race for both teams. Keep it up!

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely love how our team is starting to look right now. Jaye has brought in some quality people - we already know we have 2 great drivers with AJ and BV - and it is really starting to show. The rest of the year is going to be great! Im really glad they have brought someone in for AJ that will be able to show what talent he really has!!!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Great article about Jimmy coming over to RBR. I'm so proud of Red Bull Racing, and am honored to call myself a fan. Our Sophmore season has been awesome and I look foward to great things in the future. I'll be at Richmond in September and by the grace of God, I hope to see BV on stage as they announce the drivers who are racing for the Championship. Hope everyone at Red Bull enjoys their week off. It's been long overdue!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Suzie said...

The momentum is building. If we manage to get the 84 into the top 35 by the end of the season, it'll relieve so much stress over the off season and let people work on what's really important. Hopefully Scott Speed can get some starts soon, too.

The future of Red Bull Racing looks strong. I think we're a legitimate championship contender both this year and definitely next year.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any info on how BV did at the teeshottour in Chicago?

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we are just beginning to see what the RB Team of the future is going to be. Runs like this will put AJ and the 84 team in the top 35 quickly. Then they can work totally on race setups like the 83 side. RedBull is looking really great right now!

6:53 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Hey Anonymous! I didn't see anything on the website, and like always, I e-mailed them about it. Hopefully they'll let me know tomorrow, or update their website in the coming days.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous savannah david said...

Hey Kristin... I too will be in Richmond this year (for Nationwide & Cup race) and it would be really cool to see BV announced as one of "chase drivers". I'll look for the Red Bull gear in the crowd. Go get 'em boys!

4:42 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Oh awesome Savannah! I'm excited. I've never been to RIR. It will be my 3rd race of the 2008 season. Hopefully it will be a great birthday present. My friend and I are celebrating my birthday the ENTIRE weekend.

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Alison said...

I was at Chicago, listening to the #83 radio. It certainly sounded like they were in line with one another. I was a little worried however, when (like your quote says) they stayed out on an early pit stop. Before Brian commented that the car felt the best since they started, there was a long pause in which I sensed a bit of mistrust on the decision to stay out! But it obviously worked out for the best.

2:35 PM  

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