Mission: Nearly Impossible
All that stands between Brian Vickers and the Chase for the Sprint Cup is (deep breath) stars and planets aligning, 191 points, a victory at Richmond, leading a lap, leading the most laps, Clint Bowyer, David Ragan and Kasey Kahne opting for a weekend off and most likely a Tropical Storm named Hanna.
Mathematically, Brian and the No. 83 team are still racing to the Chase, but it’s the longest of long shots. Brian, in 15th place, is 190 points out of 12th. He’ll make the Chase only if the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota dominates Saturday night, wins, gains the 195-point maximum and the hauler drivers for Bowyer, Ragan and Kahne somehow forget the way to Virginia’s capital city.
Realistically, there is still plenty to race for. After November’s season finale at Homestead, the highest-finishing non-Chase driver earns $1 million and a seat on stage at the postseason awards banquet. Brian also is battling for a career-best finish in points. He was 15th in 2006.
“We need to respect the fact that those guys are racing for a championship, but we’re there to win the race,” he said. “We’ll go for broke, go for wins. But we don’t want to completely forget about points. We’d love to get to that 13th spot.”
Brian holds the Richmond qualifying record — spring or fall — with a lap of 129.983 mph (May 14, 2004). His best finish of eighth came one night later.