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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)
Brian Scott. (Picture Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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