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Brian Vickers, Michael Waltrip Racing - Q&A

I've told them several times, privately, publically, I feel like there's no guarantees in this sport. This is a very, very challenging and very competitive sport in the Sprint Cup Series, but I feel like I can win a championship with this team. That's our goal.

Ty Norris:
During that phone call when we first talked, the reason why I knew what his situation was, because as friends, we were talking a lot about all the opportunities that can come his way. He would say, what do you think about this or what do you think about that, because he knows I'm pretty blunt and I'll tell him my thoughts.

Then when this opportunity came - at the time it was only six races. He said: I have an opportunity to go run for a full-time team and run all year, probably make more money, but if I get the chance to run those six races, I would rather run at a place where I can win. If I can just get a place where I can win, I would rather do that than run every week.

And he took that whole 2012 season and took that into consideration, ran our six races. We actually rewarded him with two more and now it's up to nine this year. Hopefully it will be way, way more than that going into the future. That's to his credit. He was not going to take a situation just to get back into the car and prove to everybody that he could do it. He came back into the right situation.

Q:
Last restart, we saw yesterday, several times today, guys would barrel in there on the bottom and just use up the guy on the outside. I thought Kyle Busch and Tony did everything they could to get to your door without getting into you and gave you a fair shot, they gave themselves every chance to win. Can you talk about what you thought of the way that final restart went and how they treated you, and I'd like to know from Ty and Rodney just what your feelings were going into that restart and what you felt when you was driving away and you didn't want to see it?

Brian Vickers:
You know, it was a bit of a double-edged sword. I know Tony was going on the inside, and I say that with the utmost respect. I've had some fierce battles with Tony over the years. We for the most part agreed and had some great racing and occasionally we have not.

But through all of that, I feel like we've earned a mutual respect. It goes without saying I have a tremendous amount of respect for Tony Stewart as a race car driver. He's been a friend, a mentor at times, an enemy at times. But the one thing I knew is that he was going to race me harder than just about anyone else out there; but I also knew that he wasn't going to wreck me. Certainly not intentionally. He was going to race me clean and with respect.

So it was a bit of a double-edged sword. Gosh, the last person I want to have to battle on a green-and-white checkered is Tony Stewart. That guy, when he digs deep, he finds something that most people just didn't kind and that's not what I wanted beside me.

At the same time, I knew that he was not going to go off there and just hit me. He was not going to run me off the racetrack and he was not going to wreck me, and that's the double edged sword I'm talking about. But I thank him for racing me clean and hard.

Most importantly, it was this car that gave me the opportunity. I mean, man, we had a fast race car. We were - I don't know, it was just unbelievably fast and Rodney kept telling me at the end of the race, you're good, slow down. I'm like, I'm slowing down, I'm rolling out early, and it just kept going. That's thanks to Rodney and the engineers and everybody on this race team. They just gave me a great piece, especially in the race like Rodney said.




Related Pictures

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Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, takes the chequered flag as he crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
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Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, picks up the victory flag Sunday, May 3, 2015 after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. This was Earnhardt, Jr.`s sixth victory at Talladega. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS Sunday, May 3, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. This was Earnhardt, Jr.`s sixth victory at Talladega. Johnson finished second behind Earnhardt, Jr. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 3, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. This was Earnhardt, Jr.`s sixth victory at Talladega. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 Sponge Bob Square Pants Ford, wreck during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Winn Dixie 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
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Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Bit-O-Honey Ford, and Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, lead the field in a restart during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Winn Dixie 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, poses with Miss Coors Light Amanda Mertz and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Michael Waltrip, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, sits in his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 1, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, climbs out of his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 1, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

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