Few races change lives, but last year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway certainly altered the life and career of Brian Vickers.
The 30-year-old raced the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota on a part-time basis in 2013. He arrived at NHMS seeking a way back to full-time Sprint Cup racing after battling blood clots earlier in his career.
Vickers left the “Magic Mile” with the trophy and a month later announced a fulltime ride with Aaron’s sponsorship at Michael Waltrip Racing.
This year Vickers arrives at NHMS a week after a second-place finish in Daytona. He’s battling for a spot in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, which he’ll likely secure with a repeat trip to victory lane. The No. 55 team tested at NHMS July 1-2 in preparation for this race.
VICKERS ON LAST YEAR’S NHMS RACE: “It was huge. It was extremely important for so many reasons trying to reaffirm my career back in the Sprint Cup Series -- obviously winning always helps. But, I think for me personally it was a huge accomplishment going from not knowing if I would ever race again to being back in victory lane in the Sprint Cup Series, which was a goal. My ultimate goal when I decided to come back was to win, but to also win the championship. But, that was a huge step in the right direction and I was just so thankful to have the opportunity to race in the 55 car with MWR, Aaron’s and Toyota. The opportunity they gave me after being out for so long was huge and something I’ll never forget and the ability to be a part of that team to get back in victory lane was very special. Something that will always mean a lot to me.”
PRESSURE TO WIN AND GET INTO THE CHASE: “I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about it, but I really just try to live in the moment and focus on the moment. And every single time I get in that race car, every single time I work with a crew I just try to put my very best foot forward and do it with honesty, integrity and passion. That’s all I can do. If that’s not enough on a given weekend, that’s just not enough. We’re focusing on winning and doing the best we can in practice, doing the best we can in qualifying and doing the best we can in the race.”