NASCAR: Vickers on pole
BROOKLYN, Mich. ó Brian Vickers would love to turn the eighth pole of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career into his first win with Red Bull Racing.
“It truly seems like every time we have the car to win, something happens to keep us from doing it,” Vickers said Friday after beating out Kyle Busch at Michigan International Speedway for his third pole of the season. “We just have to get past that.”
He had a good chance at MIS last August, when he started from the pole, led 21 laps but wound up seventh.
“We’ve had the poles and we’ve had the fast car,” Vickers said. “We had the car to win here last year. Right up to the very end of the race, we thought we put ourselves in a great position and (during) a late caution we got put back several positions for some reasons.
“Later NASCAR admitted they made a mistake. It cost us the race. We did all we could.”
Vickers also pointed to the race in Charlotte last month. He felt he had the car to contend for a victory in the Coca-Cola 600, but never got the chance in a race shortened by rain.
“Granted, there’s a lot of races this year where we could have done better,” he said. “Hopefully, we can do our part again Sunday, have the best car, make the right decisions and, beyond that, we’re just going to have to get some luck.”
Vickers didn’t need any luck in qualifying on the 2-mile oval, posting a lap of 189.110 mph. Runner-up Busch wasn’t close at 188.536.
Three-time reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was third at 188.299, followed by David Reutimann at 188.137, Kurt Busch at 187.950 and AJ Allmendinger at 187.891.
Series points leader Tony Stewart, coming off his first win as an owner-driver, was 11th at 187.100, while Dale Earnhardt Jr., the defending race winner, qualified 30th at 186.003.
“I actually thought it was a pretty good lap,” Kyle Busch said. “I figured it would get beat, but not what it got beat by. Myself and Jimmie ran relatively close laps times and Vickers was up about a tenth (of a second) on me. A tenth at a place like this in these cars is a lot. I’m not sure where Vickers got that.”
The pole winner said he just had a pretty good Toyota.
“Last year, when we sat on the pole, literally (after) lap one (in practice) we just put cover on it and said, ‘Don’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 some adjustments.
“The final lap in practice I told the guys before I even crossed the (finish) line, ‘I can’t ask anything else out of you. It’s up to me now. I’m either going to be on the pole or I’m going to mess it up for you.’ The car was great.”