Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Brian Vickers on Dover: "Our plan is to qualify up front and then stay there'

Brian Vickers is at 25/1 odds to win Sunday at Dover
CORNELIUS, N.C. — When a new season begins at Daytona in February it will be interesting to see how many of the sport’s experts pick Brian Vickers as a favorite to secure a place in NASCAR’s 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

In August, Michael Waltrip Racing and Aaron’s Inc. named Vickers the team’s fulltime driver beginning in 2014. He’s already taken over a majority of the driving duties in 2013 and showing why he’s a legitimate Chase contender next season. Only Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon’s four top-10 finishes exceed Vickers’ three top-10s in the last five races.

It continues a string of strong performances by Vickers and the No. 55 crew since joining together on a part time schedule last year. In 19 races with MWR over the last two seasons, Vickers owns a victory, five top-fives, and 10 top-10s. Mechanical failures while racing at the front of the field skew the numbers, but the No. 55 is often one of the best cars on the track.

Vickers’ plans to add to MWR’s recent success this weekend in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. In June, Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin finished in the top 10 while Martin Truex raced in the top three before mechanical issues ended his race early.

VICKERS ON DOVER: “Dover is a fun track, it’s fast and you can move around a lot. It’s high-banked which makes it fun too. I think it’s a great track for our cars. MWR has historically run really well at Dover. The company has a pretty good setup and race package. We’ve been pretty good everywhere we have raced since I came over here. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into that back at the shop. Throw in some strong engines from TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and I’m confident we’ll have a good package for Dover.

“I think we had a winning car last weekend at New Hampshire. We had to start at the back on a track that’s as tough to pass as any on the schedule. We had a really good pit strategy. But a debris caution came just at the wrong time or I think we could have been up there trying to win again. Dover is a bit easier in that if you have a fast car you can get to the front. Obviously, our plan is to qualify up front and then stay there.”

VICKERS ON 2014: “Sure we plan to contend for the Chase in 2014. Everyone at MWR and Aaron’s believes we’ll be in it. We have the resources, expertise and backing from our partners that we need to win a championship. I’ll be disappointed with anything less than a Chase berth and a few more trips to victory lane.”


778 has not raced.

· VICKERS AT DOVER: Vickers owns one top-five and two top-10 finishes in 14 starts. He has led seven laps on the mile oval. His highest finish came in May 2011 when he started 15th and finished fifth.

· VICKERS AT MWR: In 19 races Vickers owns a victory, five top-fives, and 10 top-10s driving MWR’s No. 55 Toyota.

· CAREER STATS: Vickers owns three Sprint Cup, three Nationwide and a Sprint Open victory. He’s led 1,189 laps in Sprint Cup competition. He’s won 11 Sprint Cup poles. Vickers has started 277 Sprint Cup races and 145 Nationwide. He is the 2003 Nationwide Series Champion.

· NO. 55 in 2014:
Aaron’s, Inc. announced Aug. 13 it had reached a multi-year agreement to sponsor Vickers in the No. 55. Vickers has raced the No. 55 on a part-time basis the last two seasons for MWR posting several impressive performances including his third career victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14. Beginning in 2014, he’ll pilot the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine with a fresh new paint scheme. Aaron’s will sponsor each race during the length of the agreement.

· AARON’S: Aaron’s carries only the best brand names in furniture electronics appliances and computers. It’s really easy to get started owning at Aaron’s – you are preapproved for up to $2000 in merchandise without needing credit. Aaron’s is having a great promotion – you get 50% off any mattress set when you lease or purchase any bedroom group.

· INSIDER PROGRAM: MWR launched its Insider Program in 2013 that offers all race fans sponsor discounts, specials on merchandise, exclusive pictures and video content plus fan giveaways throughout the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Fans can access the MWR Insider Program through the CardStar application available on most smartphones. MWR will work on behalf of the fans to expand the offerings beyond just its current sponsor line-up, aggregating industry-wide deals and discounts. Fans can text MWR to 42828 to get the card for free. Offers include free headset with rental of a FanVision unit ($19.99 value) and 25% off Toyota Racing merchandise at Toyota Racing.com.

- Michael Waltrip Racing

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