Things That Go Boom
With a stout car underneath him, Brian Vickers’ strategy led him to the front, hoping he’d somehow avoid one of the mid-pack wrecks that make Talladega Superspeedway famous.
Then … BOOM!
“I felt a bomb explode,” Vickers said. “It didn’t cut. It didn’t go flat. It just exploded.”
Indeed, the right-front tire on the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota gave way on lap 68 while Vickers was running in the top five. The explosion shredded sheet metal, and his car immediately darted to the right and connected with another on the outside. All hell broke loose after that.
“I was just trying to make sure that I was holding on as tight as possible,” said Vickers, who led 10 laps Sunday. “When you lose a right-front tire there’s nothing you can do. You’re really just at the mercy of where momentum is going to take you and other guys around you and hopefully they avoid you.”
The failed Goodyear Eagle triggered Sunday’s first “big one,” as nine cars went spinning and crashing. Included was Mike Skinner’s No. 84. He had nowhere to go.
“Our goal today was to miss that,” Skinner said, “and we didn’t miss it.”
Both cars returned to the track, but the end result was 31st for Skinner and 35th for Vickers.
Vickers moved up one spot in points to 16th, and he’s only 13 points behind 15th-place Ryan Newman. Skinner’s No. 84 slipped one spot in the car owner standings to 34th — 17 points out of the red entering this weekend’s home race in Charlotte.