No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Brian Vickers races at Pocono Raceway’s “tricky triangle” Sunday for the first time since 2011.
The 2.5-mile Pennsylvania track has been one of the Michael Waltrip Racing driver’s favorites on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. Vickers owns four top-five finishes and has led 159 laps in 14 starts at Pocono. He’s qualified in the top 10 in eight of those races.
Michael Waltrip Racing tested with Vickers and teammates Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton at Pocono on May 27-28 in preparation for Sunday’s race. Despite a 43rd-place finish due to mechanical failure at Dover on Sunday, Vickers is 13th in points this season. He’s also in position (14th) to secure one of the 16 spots in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.
VICKERS ON POCONO: “It was great to get up there and get a team test in with Clint and Jeff. It’s been a few years since I have been to Pocono. I have never raced on the new surface. I had to really take a few laps just to feel the track out. The repave is great, really smooth but a few of the tricky bumps are still there. The bumps make you have to work harder as a team to set the car up then drive through them.”
CONFIDENCE: “I’ve always loved Pocono. I’ve come so close to winning there. I’d love to finally get a win there. It’s cool going to tracks where you know you’ve had success. Confidence always helps not just for the driver but as a team. You go to every race knowing you will give it your best but having confidence helps.”
NEW EMPHASIS ON WINNING TO GET IN CHASE: “As a driver you always go as hard as you can. Maybe you take a few more risks at the end of the race. All I have ever wanted to do when I get behind the wheel of a race car is win. That’s true for every driver out here no matter what the rules. So, most of the racing I don’t think has changed much from the driver perspective. If there has been a strategy change it’s more from the team perspective. Are crew chiefs willing to take more chances with tire or fuel strategy on the last restart now? Of course. We want to win, but we also still think about points. If you get a win you don’t have to worry about getting in. It’s also likely that someone will get in on points.”