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Brian Vickers’ Chase Diary – Pt.5

Red Bull driver Brian Vickers continues to look at the battle for the NASCAR Sprint Cup crown as the Chase goes on
Misfortune struck Brian Vickers at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., site of the fourth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Early on, the right rear shock absorber on Vickers' #83 Red Bull Racing Toyota began to work loose, and eventually the shock mount broke completely. His crew tried to compensate for the problem, but no amount of adjusting could get the car working optimally. Eventually, Vickers caught a piece of the massive wreck in turn one on lap 245 of 250. Vickers finished 29th and fell 351 points behind Chase leader Jimmie Johnson.

In the fifth instalment of his Chase diary, Vickers talks about the problems at California, his view of the Chase after four races and his attitude heading into Saturday's NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

“It couldn't have come at a worse time. Part of it was bad luck, and part of it was preparation — or lack of it. The shock broke. The mount, where it was welded to the chassis, broke. We're still trying to research and figure out what the problem was. Obviously, it's not something that should fail. The shock mount came loose, and the right rear shock broke off.

“It was a handful, and, especially with the packages we run these days, that didn't make it any easier, to say the least. It was a long race. (The shock problem) started very early in the race. It slowly worked itself loose. … Once we realised that we couldn't fix the issue, at that point we decided to adjust the car around it as best we could. We put some rubbers in the right rear spring, hoping that — not having the shock — it would have the same effect. We changed some other things — I don't really want to go into detail — but we changed some other things about our package to help the car perform the best it could. We made it better, but, obviously, it wasn't great.

“I think we need to focus on Charlotte, but at the same time, we also need to analyse, recognise and understand what caused the problem at California, so we don't make the same mistake. … It's going to be very difficult for us at this point to win the championship, but it's not impossible. We could get on a hot streak, win a couple races, (the leaders) could have some problems — and we're right back in it. Obviously, that's not very likely. I think at this point we really have nothing to lose. We just need to focus on winning races.

“I think that right now the #48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the #5 (Mark Martin) (are the cars to beat). I know the #42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) is there as well, but the #48 and the #5 have experience from previous Chases and the experience of running for championships and winning championships. I think that goes a long way. I wouldn't count out the #14 (Tony Stewart) at this point in the Chase, as strong as he's run all year, leading the points going into this deal.

“I would say right now my attitude is that I'm expecting to get back on track and get momentum going back in the right direction. We need to have a good run at Charlotte.”

As told to Reid Spencer



Related Pictures

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Brian Vickers is 10th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings heading into the third Chase race, Sunday’s Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 17, 2014 in the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy Johns Chevrolet SS finished second. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with his crew after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, races Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates capturing the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, sits in his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Will Schneekloth/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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