There's Bad Luck, and Then Really Bad Luck
A series of unfortunate events unfolded late in Sunday’s race at Martinsville that cost Brian Vickers another top-10 finish and, more importantly, 78 points in the Sprint Cup standings.
Vickers was running eighth with 35 laps to go when he reported the right-front tire rubbing. The 11th caution flag waved two laps later, Vickers pitted for four tires and as he left the pits NASCAR officials noticed fluid leaking from the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota. Turned out it was oil, and Vickers came back in and the hood went up. He returned four laps down in 35th.
Instead of his fourth top 10 in the season’s first six races, Vickers finished 33rd. He fell from 14th to 20th in points.
“I don’t know what to say,” Vickers said. “We ran top 10 all day and were looking to leave Martinsville with a good points day. We ran into some bad luck at the end, which put us four laps down. It’s hard to stomach losing that many spots in the points knowing how well this team did today.”
Teammate Scott Speed’s race began well when the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota stayed out during the competition caution on lap 40. Strategy put Speed on point for the first time in his Sprint Cup career. He led once for 12 laps and was one of only four drivers to lead a green-flag lap.
He was running ninth on lap 70 when Kyle Busch lost control of his car underneath Speed in turn three. Speed gave Busch plenty of room but obviously not enough, as Busch’s car tapped Speed’s and both went spinning — the No. 82 into the outside wall with damage to left rear and side. Speed continued on the lead lap, but quickly went to the garage for repairs. He was 39th at the checkered flag.
“I’m sure Kyle is going to offer to buy me dinner since that’s the second time this year that he’s wrecked me, so I’m looking forward to that,” Speed said, referring to the Las Vegas Nationwide Series race when Busch KO’d Speed on lap 21.
“We had a great car before we got wrecked and we even had a great car after we got wrecked. This race is a lot like Daytona for us where we had a great car but were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The No. 82 is 38th in the owner standings — 28 points out of the top 35.