Chase Still Within Reach
Brian Vickers pumped some life back into his postseason chances, finishing seventh in Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 at Michigan.
Three races remain before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins Sept. 14 at New Hampshire, and Brian and the No. 83 team have a 166-point mountain to climb to reach the top 12. The sixth top-10 finish of the season moved him from 17th to 15th in the driver standings.
“It was a good points day,” said Brian, who chipped off a 44-point chunk on the Chase. “That’s one thing that we can walk away being happy about.”
The No. 83 Red Bull Toyota earned the team’s first pole in its two-year existence and led twice for 21 laps. Brian ran in the top five for the first two-thirds of the 400-mile race, but the car couldn’t quite keep up with changing track conditions despite a late two-tire stop.
“We felt like we had a car capable of winning,” Brian said. “We chased the track a little bit. I think everybody did. We didn’t chase it fast enough. The track continued to get looser and looser, and we didn’t keep up with it quite as fast as we needed to.”
Teammate AJ Allmendinger, who started 33rd, was forced to pit on lap 24 to repair minor cosmetic damage on the right-front fender. He fell a lap down and spent the rest of the day trying to get it back before finishing 28th.
AJ’s No. 84 Red Bull Toyota sits 36th in the car owner standings — 13 points out of the top 35 entering Bristol, where AJ made his first Sprint Cup start in March 2007.