When I heard last season that Scott Speed would be coming over to Sprint Cup to take over the second Red Bull car with Brian Vickers I couldn't help but to be ecstatic for one of the best young and underrated racers on the Sprint Cup circuit: Brian Vickers. Vickers had always been a second-tier driver with Hendrick Motorsports, but when the opportunity came for the 2003 Nationwide Series champion to join a new team with a new manufacturer and also to help a young open wheel driver in AJ Allmendinger, Brian Vickers just couldn't refuse.
Brian joined Red Bull Racing in 2007 when Toyota joined the sport. Brian, Aj and Toyota as a whole struggled in their first year of competition which was completely dominated by the Chevrolet's of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. The Red Bull cars were below the Top 35 marker all year long. When 2008 rolled around not only was the Car of Tomorrow criticized but so was Team Red Bull in the early part of the season. AJ failed to make the Daytona 500 and he was eventually replaced by Truck Series veteran Mike Skinner. After a series of races AJ Allmendinger got back in the car and had success learning from Mike Skinner and being out of a ride. Not only did Allmendinger benefit but Brian Vickers returned to competitive form. He was in contention to win the Coca Cola 600 and the Pocono 500 but he lost a wheel in the 600 and finished in the Top 5 at Pocono. Both races were won by Kasey Kahne. Vickers ended up finishing 19th in Sprint Cup standings while having 6 top 10's, 3 top 5's and 1 pole. AJ Almendinger ended up with what was Gillet Evernham Motorsports and Scott Speed finished the year in what was the #84 car. Almendinger finished 36th in points and Speed, 55th.
The Red Bull Team changed the #84 to the #82 and with it their attitude as a race team. Vickers ran up front in the Daytona 500 before going a lap down and eventually getting taken out by Dale Earnhardt Junior. Vickers has been a constant threat in the top 10 all year long and while Scott Speed has qualified well he has lacked impressive finishes besides his outstanding 5th place finish at Talladega.
The Red Bull team enters Richmond with both cars qualified in the top 10 and Scott Speed is on the edge in top 35 along with Vickers being in contention for the chase. If history is any indicator, all Red Bull Racing will do is get better every week which will lead to bigger and better results for the best up and coming race team in all of NASCAR.