A Pole and an Engine Change
Brian Vickers earned Red Bull Racing Team’s second pole in the past 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races Friday, turning a lap at 183.439 mph during qualifying at Auto Club Speedway.
But the celebration didn’t last long, as the No. 83 team was forced to change engines after time trials. They’ll have Saturday’s lone 1-hour, 45-minute practice session to dial in the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota before dropping to the rear in Sunday’s race.
It was the sixth career pole and second at the 2-mile track for the 25-year-old Vickers, who also qualified the No. 83 first last Aug. 15 at Michigan.
“I couldn’t ask for much more out of the car,” Vickers said. “Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) and the guys from the Red Bull team did an amazing job. In this sport — in the Sprint Cup Series — you have to just about have a perfect car and a perfect lap to sit on the pole.
“Pit selection is very important, and we’ll be alright there. But it’s a shame we’ll be starting from the back. Having all of that traffic in front of us will be a challenge, but I know we’re all up for it. We have 500 miles to get up there and fight for the win.”
Teammate and rookie Scott Speed qualified his No. 82 in ninth at 181.965 mph.
“We know we have a car under us that’s going to be pretty good for the race. That’s the most important thing,” Speed said. “Both of the Red Bull cars ran really well here. These things aren’t that difficult to drive in qualifying. The race is certainly going to be a lot tougher for us.”