NASCAR nailed Brian Vickers with a too-fast-entering-the-pits penalty on lap 244 of Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. Vickers was just a tick above the 45-mph speed limit, and after a pass-through the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota dropped from 10th to a lap down in 31st.
Vickers rallied to finish 19th and shouldered all the blame for ruining what most likely would have been a top-10 night.
“The car is the best it has been all night. Sorry guys, I take full responsibility for the penalty,” a dejected Vickers radioed to his team.
Eight events into the season, Vickers sits 18th in the standings — 98 points from the top 12 entering Sunday’s restrictor-plate race at Talladega. Vickers earned his first Sprint Cup victory at Talladega in October 2006.
Teammate Scott Speed started 18th and finished 34th in his second start at Phoenix. Speed’s No. 82 moved to 37th in the car owner standings (102 points from the top 35).