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Brian Vickers Bulls His Way To Pole At Michigan

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, June 12 2009
On Wednesday, Brian Vickers made a pit stop in New York City. On Friday, he won the pole at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for Red Bull)

On Wednesday, Brian Vickers made a pit stop in New York City. On Friday, he won the pole at Michigan International Speedway. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for Red Bull)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Brian Vickers insists that his team keeps getting closer and closer to having the kind of equipment which can win a race. 

On Friday, he added another “closer”.

Vickers turned a qualifying lap at 189.110 mph Friday afternoon to win the pole for Sunday’s LifeLock 400 Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.

“It always feels good to be the fastest driver in this series on any given day,” Vickers said. “It’s a challenge to say the least.  This is the most competitive racing series in the world, definitely here in the U.S.  From the drivers to the teams, top to bottom.  Sitting on the pole is no easy accomplishment.  The Red Bull guys did a great job.  We had an unbelievable car from when we unloaded.”

The pole was the second straight for Vickers at MIS as he was top qualifier there in the August race. 

“Last year, when we sat on the pole, literally after lap one we just put a cover on it and didn’t even touch it because it was that great,” Vickers said. “Today, we had a good car, but we did have to work on it.  We had to make a lot of adjustments during practice.  By the end of practice we were really happy with the car and the final lap in practice I told the guys before I even crossed the line, ‘I can’t ask anything else out of you, it’s up to me.’  We were either going to be on the pole or I was going to mess it up, but the car was great.  I’m glad I didn’t mess up because I pretty much put it all on myself.  I told them I couldn’t ask anything else out of the car, but they gave me a great car.” 

Kyle Busch was second fastest in qualifying Friday.

Both Vickers and Busch were driving Toyota Camrys at the track which is located closest to the Big Three automakers of America.

Jimmie Johnson was third and David Reutimann fourth.

Johnson said it was he cost himself a shot at the pole.

“I made a small mistake out there that cost us some time,” Johnson said. “I just kind of guessed wrong on the grip level going in to one.  I just got in there a little too soft and knew I was behind so I went down in to turn three and tried to make up the time and I feel like I gave some back. I just kind of over adjusted. I will just have to make it up to them on Sunday.”

The pole was the third of the season for Vickers and his Red Bull Racing team. He also won the pole at Auto Club Speedway the second week of the season, and at Richmond in week 10.

Vickers best finish in Sprint Cup this season is fifth, which he did twice. Those finishes came at Atlanta and Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Series points leader Tony Stewart was 11th in qualifying.

Johnson talked about what it would take well to do well in the race at the wide, flat, 2-mile Michigan oval.

“We will be looking for a car where the balance will hang on for a long time,” the three time Cup champion said. “We can move around as we all know. But if you can keep the tires on it and keep that consistent balance over the long haul, you will be good all day long here. The last two times we have been awful close to victory here. I think that hopefully this time we can get it done.”

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, June 12 2009
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