Vickers Aftermath Continues

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Sunday was supposed to be a glorious day for Brian Vickers.

After competing in 106 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races, the 22-year-old phenom finally proved his doubters wrong by capturing his first "big league" victory – nevermind the fact that he claimed the NASCAR Busch Series Championship in 2003 at the tender age of 19.

But instead, he has had to go on the defensive ever since he nudged Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet into then race leader Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet on the final lap of the UAW Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway – driving away with the victory shortly thereafter.

No, it’s not because the driver who lost the most has been on the attack – Earnhardt Jr. is more upset by the loss of points than about losing the victory, saying this week, "It sure would've been nice to walk out of there with top-five points rather than top-25 points and to be able to go into Charlotte with that momentum."

Nor is it that either of the two drivers involved find him at fault for what transpired - both have gone on the record calling it a racing incident.

Rather, it’s that his teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, Johnson, still doesn’t feel he is showing enough remorse after the incident.

"No, I got a message from (Vickers). But that was about it. I don't really have much to say or much to talk to him about," said Johnson during a media teleconference on Tuesday.

"Like I said before, I know it wasn't intentional. I have a really hard time feeling like he is really sorry for what he's done. But at the same time, I know it wasn't intentional. So I just kind of go on.

"If I look at the interviews and the quotes and the message that Brian left me, I wouldn't take it as an apology by any stretch of the imagination. So that's where I'm at."

Instead of talking about his achievement at Talladega, Vickers heads to Lowe’s Motor Speedway to face a barrage of questions about how truly sorry he feels about the incident and continual queries about whether he caused the crash intentionally – all the while being surrounded by extra security after "several fans called the track ticket office at Lowe’s Speedway angry with the finish at Talladega" according to a track press release.

What should have been the most glorious day for Brian Vickers might turn out to be the worst day of his professional career.

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