This week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made its way from the hill's of Tennessee to the paper clip known as Martinsville.
Coming into the race, both Brian Vickers and Scott Speed needed a good finish—both for different reasons.
Vickers' reason was to get back into the top-12 and be a Chase contender.
Speed's reason was to break into the top-35 in points, as he came in being only 33 point's away from being guaranteed to make the race.
Thing's were looking good for Vickers and his No. 83 Team Red Bull Toyota all day, as he ran up front in the top-15 a great portion of the day, even running eighth with 35 laps left to race, until he reported he had a tire rubbing.
Two laps later, he pitted under caution to fix his tire rub, putting him 19th, with fresh tires and still on the lead lap. That was until a NASCAR official noticed Vickers' Toyota was leaking fluid as he left pit road.
He returned to pit road, having an oil leak which forced his Red Bull crew to pop the hood and fix the problem. The fix took four laps and left him in the back of the pack, four laps down to the leader.
As bad as Vickers' day was at Bristol Motor Speedway, it was nothing compared to Martinsville, as he dropped 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.”
Vickers was clearly disappointed with the end result at a track he had not done very well at, looking to have his best finish yet at the paper clip track.
A Look Ahead
Vickers and his Red Bull team will now head to the Fort Worth Texas mile and a half track where he has nine starts, and a best finish of 12th way back in 2004—his rookie season with Rick Hendrick's race team.
Vickers does have a pole at the track, but doesn't have any thing to brag about at the Texas track, with an average finish of 22.5 and an avg start of 21st—including a pole in that average.
If history mean's anything, Vickers will have a tough day battling the Hendrick and Roush Fenway teams.
My Prediction is that Vickers will have a decent day at Texas, bringing home a top-12 finish, and a little rebound from the disappointing short track's
Speed's day at Martinsville started off great after pitting on the first caution of the day before the competition caution at lap 40. When the caution flag flew at lap 40, Speed was one of two car's that took a chance (the other being Robby Gordon).
His gamble led to the first green flag lap's that the young rookie has paced the field. He led the first 15 laps, before being passed by Jeff Gordon's No. 24 DuPont Chevy.
A few lap's later—while running ninth—Kyle Busch lost control of his No.18 M&M Toyota and came up the track. He hit Speed's No. 82 Red Bull Toyota, causing severe damage, sending Speed and his Team Red Bull crew to the garage area.
After fixing Speed's damaged Toyota, Speed re-entered the race, but was 70-some laps down.
“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 wrecked him 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.”
Speed brought the Red Bull Toyota home in 39th place and another disappointing result in a disappointing season thus far. Speed fell to 38th in owner's points, 28 points out of the top-35 and a guaranteed spot in the upcoming race.
A look ahead
Speed enters the Lone Star State looking for his best finish of the season, which will not be that difficult, beings as he hasn't started all that well.
Speed's main objectives is to either a.) hope for rain on Friday; Or b.) hope for no trouble on Friday during qualifying (crash, engine failure, or the car not cranking, are all possibilities that would leave Speed sitting on the couch Sunday.)
Speed's second objective this weekend at Fort Wort Texas will be to finish ahead of Paul Menard and break into the top-35 in points.
Speed did make one start at the Texas track last season, in which he started and finished 33rd. The run gained Speed valuable experience at the mile and a half track.
Baring any unforeseen problem's Friday in qualifying, Speed should have a good points day and end up with a top-25 finish at the Texas track.
I'd like to know what Team Red Bull's owner's are thinking of how good A.J. Allmendinger is doing this season, and how they feel on not making a third team for Allmendinger, or keeping him around another season. Allmendinger has gotten his first top-five of the season, and sits 15th in Sprint Cup points.
Until Next time, this is the latest Full of "Red" Bull. To see other issues, see my profile.