Sunday, December 28, 2008

No Chocolate and a Championship

January’s the time to start fresh. Many vow to lose weight in the New Year. Smokers start to quit, shoppers cut up the credit cards and workaholics put the family first.

New Year’s resolutions are spreading faster than a rumor in the Cup garage — Red Bull Racing Team included. One crewman, No. 82 jack man Trey Burklin, simply plans to “get new roommates.” Gas man Mike Metcalf promises to “rock out on the guitar.”

No. 83 driver Brian Vickers shot back that his resolution was to “win races and the Sprint Cup championship” in 2009. A PC response? Nah. Vickers really does want to dethrone Jimmie Johnson.

Teammate Scott Speed, an admitted sucker for sweets, isn’t immune to the traditional resolution. He’ll be eliminating chocolate. It was his way of saying that he’s gotten “fat,” even though he’s a lean athlete and never puts a bad thing in his body.

“I’ve gained, like, two pounds,” Speed said. “So no chocolate. Nothing that’s not healthy.”

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Seasons Greetings from Santa

Santa came early to Mooresville on Friday, as Red Bull Racing Team opened its doors to employees and their families for the annual Christmas get-together.

Veteran road crew worker Pete Wright (above) fills out a Santa suit quite well, and he made his way around the room for a Ho, Ho, Ho meet and greet with all the children. He carried candy canes for the kids and gag gifts for a few grown-ups.

With Santa’s elf and facilities manager Mike Good serving as the slick auctioneer, items helped raise more than $5,000 for an area foster care effort. No. 83 crew chief Ryan Pemberton won the raffle for a sheet-metal table, put it up for auction and won that same auction for $500. Other items raffled or auctioned off included sliver and blue car hoods, a tool box, two flat-screen TVs, Red Bull artwork and various gift certificates.

“This officially marks the end of the 2008 season,” Jay Frye, vice president and general manager, closed by saying.

Good thing, because the Daytona 500’s only 56 days away.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Emergency Gift a Click Away

Stuck on a tie and socks for dad? Sending mom to the spa yet again? Still scrambling to find one last Christmas gift for that special someone, niece or nephew?

No worries. Red Bull Racing Team’s online store is to the rescue. But there’s a catch: you have a little more than 24 hours to place orders to ensure that your gift arrives by Christmas.

Our online store will be closed from midday Friday to Dec. 29. Any orders entered by 4 p.m. Thursday will be processed and shipped that afternoon. Any received after that will be processed and shipped on Dec. 29.

The merchandise is waiting — hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, diecasts and novelty items. Visit

Monday, December 15, 2008

Return Trip to the Podium

Thursday was like old times for Scott Speed and his father, Mike.

Back in the day, they owned the karting ranks to give Speed his start in open-wheel racing, and they were clicking once again as dad made all the right adjustments and son finished third in the PRI All-Stars Karting Classic in Orlando, Fla.

Speed was fastest in final practice, posted the quickest time in qualifying and easily moved into the feature with a second-place finish in the preliminary race. From there, it was on against the likes of AJ Allmendinger (NASCAR), Joey Hand (sports cars), Jay Howard (IRL), Jamie McMurray (NASCAR), Vitor Meira (IRL), Buddy Rice (IRL), Michael Valiante (sports cars) and Dan Wheldon (IRL).

Red Bull motorcycle stunt rider Aaron Colton led the field to the start of the 40-lap feature, and Speed’s No. 41 Tony Kart machine was part of a four-kart breakaway that included Howard, Hand and Allmendinger. As Howard held a three-second lead on the final lap, second-place Allmendinger dove past a slower Valiante and lost his line in the corner, opening the door for Hand (second) and Speed (third). Allmendinger recovered to finish fourth, with Oswaldo Negri Jr. fifth.

Speed’s already looking forward to next year.

“I was really surprised at my pace at the beginning of the night,” Speed said. “With our schedule of events this year, I have not been able to kart as much as I have in the past. However, my dad and I tested well on Tuesday and felt we were going to be somewhat competitive. There were so many excellent drivers here. We were stoked to start at the front all night, and the feature was a real fun battle. I have to thank my dad, Tony Kart, Stars of Karting and PRI for putting this together.”

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Elledge on Inspection

Ever wonder what really goes on in the inspection line? Jimmy Elledge knows, and crew chief No. 82 shared some of his knowledge on what it takes to squeeze past NASCAR officials during technical inspection.

Elledge gave us a guided tour of October’s impound race at Talladega Superspeedway. He talks shocks, springs, heights, widths and weights — with a little humor in between.

Check out the video at

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thankful for Tire Testing

Considering NASCAR put the kibosh on testing, traveling 2,200 miles to the west just before Christmas isn’t all that bad.

Brian Vickers’ No. 83 Red Bull Toyota is one of four Sprint Cup machines to participate in the two-day Goodyear tire test today and Thursday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It’s a critical test, too, because Red Bull Racing Team — and other Cup teams — is doing no testing on its own and this gives new crew chief Ryan Pemberton a chance to get to know the No. 83 bunch outside of the race shop’s walls.

“With Ryan coming on board,” said Elton Sawyer, the team’s competition director, “we have the opportunity to have him and Brian work together for a couple of days. We’re thankful for the couple of days we have out there. Very thankful.”

All four makes are represented, as Vickers joins Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Ford, Mark Martin’s No. 5 Chevrolet and David Stremme’s No. 12 Dodge in preparation for the March 1 Shelby 427.

“We have to continue to test tires and put out a good product on Sundays for the viewing public,” Sawyer said. “We’re just participating in the test. Goodyear has its own test plan; they’ll map out their runs. We’ll get the opportunity early today to shake the car down to where it’s well balanced and Brian can run some laps. And Goodyear certainly will do its tire development.”

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Teammates Really Do Help

He competed in ARCA, trucks and Cup in 2008. On Scott Speed’s 2009 to-do list is NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, and he’ll get to cross off that entry sometime in February.

It’s an ambitious schedule for the second-year stock car driver. Responsibility No. 1 is the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota in Sprint Cup, but to expand the definition of “seat time” Speed will drive Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 99 in limited Nationwide events.

As Speed said, the “next-best place to race” is Nationwide.

“We thought of different situations and different opportunities, what we could do to get more seat time,” he said. “Certainly, with the amount of Cup guys that race in the Nationwide Series every weekend, it was a no-brainer.”

Speed got some good advice from his teammate, 2003 Nationwide champion Brian Vickers. BV bounced from 36 Sprint Cup races to 12 Nationwide events in 2008.

“The cars are a bit more different than we want,” Speed said. “After talking with Brian and sitting down about it, we feel it’s not going to be that big of a difference. The racing experience will be more valuable that having to go from car to car.”

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Silver to the Super Bowl

“Some would call it a mirrored aluminum silver. Some would call it a titanium finish. We would just have to call it bad ass.” — Marty Briggs, paint shop manager, on the silver No. 84

“I know what I’m up against. I have about two hours of practice then I have to be ready to race. I love throwing myself off the deep end every once in awhile.” — Scott Speed before his first truck race at Atlanta

“We hope for the best, but are always prepared for the worst.” — Crewman Brian Dheel

“The car’s in one piece. It’s better than a lot of people can say. It was definitely a wreckfest.” — Brian Vickers on the July race at Daytona

“This thing had 110,000 people — 10,000 people in the water and 100,000 around watching this Red Bull event. It was freakin’ awesome, really one of the coolest Red Bull events I’ve ever done.” — Scott Speed on judging the Red Bull Flugtag event in Tampa, Fla.

“It’s awesome. It’s very American. The stadium is just terrific. I have no words. We have big soccer stadiums in Europe. But we have no big motorsports stadiums. Just an incredible experience for me to ride here. And to go in third gear through the banking … was (expletive) awesome.” — Christian Pfeiffer, a German Red Bull stunt bike rider, on Bristol

“The Giants win 24-21, only because professionals play with a lot of pride. It’s a joke to the NFL that one team can beat everybody. Those days are over. The Giants will beat the Patriots.” — Gasman Mike Metcalf’s Super Bowl prediction

Monday, December 01, 2008

2009 Driver/Crew Chief Lineup

No. 83 driver Brian Vickers will have a new crew chief for his third season with Red Bull Racing Team, as Ryan Pemberton leads Vickers’ charge to his first Red Bull victory and a spot in the 2009 Chase.

Teammate Scott Speed will return for his rookie NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. He’ll drive the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota under the watch of returning crew chief Jimmy Elledge.

"We’re entering our third Sprint Cup season with driver and crew chief pairings that have what it takes to consistently compete at a high level," said Jay Frye, RBRT Vice President and General Manager. "Brian and Ryan are each at a point in their respective careers where they can bring home wins and make a run for the championship. Scott earned his Sprint Cup ride by exceeding our expectations in ARCA and trucks. He has a great asset in Jimmy, who has experience working with both rookies and open-wheel drivers."

Pemberton, 39, inherits a No. 83 team that earned a pole, three top-five and six top-10 finishes before Vickers finished 19th in points. His most recent crew chief role was with the No. 44 Toyota, guiding driver David Reutimann to four top 10s in 2008.

A longtime crewman, Pemberton became a crew chief in 1995 in the Nationwide Series and took his first Sprint Cup job in 1997 at MB2 Motorsports. Since then, he has crew chiefed for the likes of Derrike Cope, Jerry Nadeau, Joe Nemechek, Mark Martin and Aric Almirola. His first victory as a crew chief came when Nemechek won the 2004 race at Kansas Speedway.

After ruffling fenders in ARCA and the Craftsman Truck Series, Speed graduates to a full-time Sprint Cup ride in 2009. He drove the No. 84 in four races and the No. 83 in one to close last season.

Speed, switching to a silver No. 82, will contend for rookie of the year and start the season locked inside the top 35 in car owner points. He’s guaranteed a starting spot in the first five races, including the season-opening Daytona 500.

He’ll also run a partial Nationwide Series schedule in the No. 99 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.

After a two-year stint in the NASCAR garage, the No. 84 retires to the RBRT museum, also known as the race shop in Mooresville, N.C.