Vickers collects pole
Now the Red Bull Racing driver wants one of those starts to help get him to Victory Lane.
Vickers ran a lap of 184.162 mph on Thursday for his fifth pole this year and 10th in 191 career Cup races. Throw out races where qualifying laps were rained out, and Vickers has won the last three Sprint Cup poles.
“It was an amazing lap,” Vickers said. “I didn’t expect it to be that quick. I knew we had a really good car, and it was just up to me to mess up or finish the job.”
The same could be said with his race day finishes.
Vickers doesn’t have a win to show for his strong qualifying efforts in the No. 83 Toyota. He hasn’t finished higher than fifth this season and hasn’t won a Cup race since 2006.
“I’m very frustrated to not be in Victory Lane,” he said. “Winning poles is one of our goals. Winning races is the other. If I had to pick between the two, I’d pick wins over poles, but we’ll take whatever we can get.”
Vickers’ Red Bull Racing teammate Scott Speed, who needed to qualify on time, was second at 182.958. Three-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was third.
Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer round out the top five.
Points leader Tony Stewart was 32nd. Jeff Gordon, who trails Stewart by 180 points, was seventh.
“I knew we weren’t going to beat Vickers. He’s in another category,” Gordon said. “They definitely have their act together in qualifying.”
Speed, who has a rocky relationship with Vickers, posted the best start of his career. It helped Red Bull Racing claim both front row starting positions for the first time.
“Brian’s lap was incredible,” Speed said. “I didn’t really think that we had a shot to beat that, but I knew we had a shot to be at the front. But we also have to make the race. You’ve got to be smart about it.”
Speed was the last driver to attempt a qualifying lap under the lights.
Next up for Vickers is signing the contract extension he verbally agreed to with Red Bull months ago. Vickers, who is 17th in the points standings, said signing the contract was tabled when the economy soured. Still, Vickers says both sides are still in agreement on the terms, and he has thought several times to be on the brink of putting his name on the deal.
He’s not sure why there’s a holdup.
“For why, I can’t answer,” he said. “It’s a really strange situation. Normally in these circumstances, if you agreed on them, you sign them.”
Vickers said he’s excited about staying with Red Bull Racing and his potential for success with the organization.