March 26, 2007 - In Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS) Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Brian Vickers scored his second top-15 finish of the season in the No. 83 Red Bull Camry, placing 15th and leading one lap to log the best finish among the five Toyota drivers in the 43-car field.
Vickers overcame the sweltering heat inside his race car and tight turns on the half-mile Bristol bullring for 500 laps in his third start of the season. The Thomasville, N.C.-native still holds the best finish by a Toyota in a NNCS points-paying event when he finished 10th at California Speedway in February.
"We think that a piece of the tail pipe came off halfway through the race, so heat was blowing directly onto the floor board," said Vickers following the race. "The guys tried to put some lining in the car to protect my feet, but it didn't really help that much. I basically had to run the whole race with my feet burning and that was just painful. I'm really impressed at how the guys kept cool heads today considering the issues we were facing and gave me great pit stops all day. Without these two things combined, we could not have pulled off such a good 15th-place finish."
Dave Blaney finished 22nd in the No. 22 Caterpillar Camry for Bill Davis Racing, battling an ill-handling race car for much of the afternoon. Blaney started from the seventh position – the best qualifying effort for a Camry in NNCS competition.
Jeremy Mayfield, who also led one lap, finished 34th in the No. 36 360 OTC Toyota Camry in his first start of the 2007 season.
AJ Allmendinger finished 40th in his first career NNCS start in the No. 84 Red Bull Camry, while Toyota driver Dale Jarrett finished 42nd for Michael Waltrip Racing.
The next race on the NNCS schedule is at Martinsville Superspeedway, April 1.
In Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) Sharpie Mini 300, Blaney, David Reutimann and Jason Leffler each spent time running in the top-15 before separate on-track incidents relegated the Toyota trio to disappointing finishes.
Blaney, driving the No. 10 Camping World Camry for Braun Racing, started in the 16th position and battled with the lead pack for much of the race before a multi-car incident on lap 267 forced the team in for repairs and a 30th-place finish.
Reutimann wound up 33rd in the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing. The No. 99 team struggled with the set-up in the car all weekend, but when contact from another car sent him into the inside wall, Reutimann's car sustained heavy damage, forcing him to the garage for substantial repairs.
"I hadn't gotten into anybody all day; I hadn't put a scratch on the car," said Reutimann following the incident. "I just got tagged from behind. We'll just have to regroup and keep digging. We were running okay before the wreck, but we still weren't anywhere near as good as we were in practice. We had made some gains on it, but we were still pretty far off."
Leffler finished one position behind Reutimann in the No. 38 Great Clips Camry.
Blaney fell one position to fourth in the NBS point standings, while Reutimann now sits 11th in points.
The next race on the NBS schedule is April 7 at Nashville Superspeedway.
All materials on this site are for editorial use only. The use of these materials for advertising, marketing or any other commercial purpose is prohibited. They may be cropped but not otherwise modified. To download these materials, you must agree to abide by these terms.