Vickers Sees Progress
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on March 21, 2014 | 4:35 P.M. EST
Brian Vickers was ninth quickest in Friday's practice at Auto Club Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)
FONTANA, Calif. - Maybe, last weekend’s race at Bristol will prove to be a turning point for Brian Vickers and his team. For that to happen, though, the good runs will have to continue.
Last weekend was a start for the Michael Waltrip Racing team, which scored its first top-10 finish of the season. It wasn’t what happened just last Sunday that stood out to Vickers but how his team progressed that weekend.
“We were horrible on Friday and Saturday,’’ Vickers said. “We actually qualified 38th. There was no tire going flat, nothing happened that we can blame it on other than we were just that off. Everybody ... put their heads together and made huge improvements from Friday to Saturday and a massive change from Saturday to Sunday. that blew me away.’’
That’s a sign of Vickers and his crew working together. He admits it has taken a little time with a new crew chief and new engineers. Billy Scott is the crew chief, replacing Rodney Childers, who moved to Stewart-Haas Racing last season and is Kevin Harvick’s crew chief. Scott was one of Vickers’ engineers last season.
“When the green flag dropped (at Bristol), I told Billy, ‘I don’t want to know what’s in the car, I know you’ve changed every single component in the car, I don’t even want to know about it (or) think about it, just tell me it’s going to be the greatest car ever.’ ‘’ Vickers said. “I had the confidence to say that.’’
New rules and new personnel have made the start of this season challenging. With the new rules, teams have more options on the setup of their car.
“It’s actually almost a bigger change for the drivers and the teams than maybe even switching to the COT at times,’’ Vickers said. “How you adjust the cars have changed. Now you can pick your own ride height. Even how you adjust the car in the race, the options you have has change.
“How you adjust the car through practice has changed dramatically. The feedback I have to give has altered some. Sometimes having more options makes it more difficult. We’ve got more options than time to pick from.’’
Vickers admits as time progresses, teams will know what direction to head with their setups. His team seemed to have the right setup Friday. Vickers was ninth quick in pre-qualifying practice.
This weekend also is a big weekend not only for that but also for the sponsor he carries on his car. TREATMYCLOT.com is sponsoring Vickers’ car this weekend and also the Nationwide race at Auto Club Speedway.
It’s has added significance for Vickers, who has twice been sidelined by blood clots. This month is Blood Clots Awareness Month.
“It’s crazy to think your story can help some people,’’ Vickers said. “If you think you have something wrong, go see a doctor.’’