Stopping, Speeding and Sliding
All it takes to circle Atlanta Motor Speedway is 30 seconds, about the same amount of time it took for Brian Vickers’ top-15 day to tick away.
The No. 83 was hit with a one-lap penalty because, during a stop on lap 299, the car was serviced outside of the pit box.
Vickers exited in 16th, but had to make the slow crawl back to his pit before being held for one lap, 1.54 miles or the agonizingly long 30 seconds.
Vickers, on the lead lap all day, returned a lap down in 24th. He ended up 21st at the checkered flag and is 18th in points — 24 out of 17th.
“For most of the race the car was loose off under throttle and lacked overall grip. It was decent at times, but we knew it wasn’t a car that could win the race," Vickers said. "The crew worked hard making a series of adjustments to make the car better, but the car was never as good as it was back in the spring. The penalty at the end of the race killed us because I think I could have picked up a few more spots had we not gone a lap down.”
Like his teammate, No. 84 driver Scott Speed battled a loose condition and a few problems on pit road to finish 34th. In addition to sliding through his pit box, Speed also earned one of the 11 speeding-on-pit-road penalties handed down Sunday. (Just two of the lessons rookies learn.)
Still, he led his first lap (lap 37) in Sprint Cup competition and has completed 99 percent of the circuits run in his two starts. The No. 84 sits 35th in the car owner standings — 25 points behind 34th and 80 points ahead of the red.
“We started out the race so extremely loose," Speed said. "We kept working on it as the race went on and we got it from extremely loose to regular loose. From there, we were able to keep up with the pace better and not fall so far behind. We still didn’t finish where we would have liked, but we did finish the race and getting these laps is really important for myself and the team as I learn to drive these Cup cars.”