Red Bull Ready For 2009

Team Red Bull is set for its third season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition as the Toyota team brings Scott Speed on board to join with the fast-improving Brian Vickers.

The team has come a long way since its debut season and through a series of changes and evolution appears ready to take a step to the next level in the coming year.

"It's a lot different," said Vickers. "For the most part - if not all of it - it's in the right direction. A lot of people have changed. I think the culture is still the same. It's still Red Bull Racing. It's still the Red Bull culture - full of energy, excitement and be yourself. Competition is everything. We don't worry about anything else. It's really only about winning. That culture still remains."

General Manager Jay Frye has made several changes to the team since his arrival including the decision to replace A.J. Allmendinger with Speed as well as hiring veteran Ryan Pemberton to serve as Vickers' crew chief.

Those moves have Vickers even more excited about the coming year.

"When it comes to some of the people - a lot of the people have changed," Vickers said. "The management has changed. Obviously, Jay Frye coming on board, new crew chiefs this year and a new engineer on the 83. A lot of the same people are still there - a lot of brilliant guys that have been on the team since day one. There are almost 200 employees. But, we've also brought some better talent in as well to help raise the bar."

After impressing many with his ARCA and truck series runs in 2008, former Formula One driver Speed is ready for his full-time assault on NASCAR's top division.

"We definitely learned some stuff toward the end of the year," said Speed, who made a handful of Cup starts at the end of 2008. "Miami was a big success for us. I think that we improved on that. We've shown to ourselves how far we've come with this test in Atlanta. Atlanta is one of the tracks we struggled the most on. (Crew chief) Jimmy [Elledge] and I, we're communicating. He definitely has a better feel for what I want and what I need. We're able to get it. That's definitely encouraging going into the year."

All of this enthusiasm has the team dreaming big, including the possibility of not just winning races but a title as well.

"I feel like we have a shot at it," said Vickers. "Obviously, we have to prove ourselves to boldly say that. Based on the past three years I would have a hard time betting against the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) team. If they keep doing what they've been doing, and they keep that team together, they're the best team in the garage right now. That's our goal - to beat them. We want to be a better team than them, but we've got to prove that first."

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