No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Brian Vickers grew up in Thomasville, N.C. about 140 miles from Darlington Raceway in South Carolina where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races Saturday night.
Vickers said the 1.366-mile, egg-shaped track that opened in 1950 is as tough a challenge as any in modern day NASCAR. Last year’s pole speed of 181.918 mph is nearly 100 mph faster than Curtis Turner’s 82.034 mph pole in 1950. The second of Vickers’ three career Nationwide victories came on Aug. 30, 2003 at Darlington. The win aided in his series title that season.
Vickers arrives at Darlington after scoring top-10 finishes in three of the last four races and the fourth most points of any driver in those races. A two-tire strategy for the green-white-checkered finish moved Vickers from ninth to second and he held on for fourth at Texas. He’s scored the ninth-most points of any driver in 2014.
IS DARLINGTON STILL TOO TOUGH TO TAME? “Yeah I think it is. It got its reputation because you have to run so close to the wall. It’s so easy to get in trouble. I don’t think that has changed. It has new pavement, but if anything you run faster and you run just as close to the wall. The consequences are probably even greater. It is a track that if you get yourself caught up racing people too much you can very quickly get eaten up by the track. I think that’s why it has the reputation of “the track too tough to tame” and that hasn't changed.”
VICKERS ON QUALIFYING: “Qualifying is tough everywhere. What’s going to be really tough at Darlington is whether NASCAR throws a caution when guys get into the wall. You know guys are going to scrape the wall. Obviously, if they full on wreck you will see a caution. But if NASCAR throws the caution for guys scraping then that’s going to mess up a lot of fast laps. They are going to have to come in, cool back down, go back on older tires. It’s going to be tough for NASCAR, it’s going to be tough for all of us but I’m sure it will be entertaining for the fans.”
DARLINGTON: “Having a win (2003, Nationwide) at Darlington is beautiful. It was an amazing win. It was one of my favorite wins. Darlington has always been a special place to me. Being close to where I grew up (Thomasville, N.C.) made it special. It’s just an amazing track and it should be a great race Saturday night.”
SEASON SO FAR: “We’re getting better each week. The results have been good, but we know we can do better. It’s a good feeling. Our best stuff is ahead of us. We ran well and (crew chief) Billy (Scott) made a great call at Texas.”