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May 20, 2014 - 05:05 PM
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2014 Charlotte (Coca Cola 600): Brian Vickers NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on May 20, 2014 - 04:58 PM
2014 Charlotte (Coca Cola 600): Brian Vickers NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview

No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Brian Vickers drove a Ferrari 458 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012 and has enjoyed a few other endurance races in his career.


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But Vickers said nothing compares to Sunday night’s 600-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The longest race on the NASCAR schedule took 4:35:49 hours last year.

“When you really think about it, it’s probably one of the longest professional racing stints for a single driver in the world,” said Vickers.

“You have a lot of 24 hour races, which I have been fortunate to be able to run some of them, but nowhere in those 24 hour races do you see one driver in a car for four or more hours straight. Typically, they’re only in the car for one hour. To an extent, even though the race is not as long as say the 24 hour races, the time you are in the car continuously in the 600 is longer.”

Vickers said the challenge is as much mental as it is physical. The days of taking it easy then racing the final 100 miles are over. The approach now is like a 600-mile sprint to the finish.

“The 600 is a long race for man and machine for sure. The technology has come so far from what it used to be -- I notice that a lot more people finish it. I think it certainly tests your physical ability, but also your mental ability just to stay focused and to not only be physically capable of running the full race, but to mentally stay with it too. It’s a long race.”

The Michael Waltrip Racing team brings a great deal of optimism into Sunday’s race. During Saturday’s eighth-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Vickers turned the fastest lap on the track five times during the 90-lap event.

“I think we learned a lot. I think we’re going to take a lot of notes and a lot of information from the All-Star race to the 600. We have a good car and a lot of laps we were the fastest car on the race track. If we can just do that for 600 miles Sunday then we’ll be good.”

Cars practice and qualify Thursday, practice Saturday and the race begins at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday.


• MWR FAN FEST MAY 21: Michael Waltrip Racing will hold its Fan Fest at its Cornelius, N.C. race shop tomorrow 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Fans may tour the shop, get autographs from MWR drivers and Miss Sprint Cup, enjoy sponsor displays, music by country music star Tim Dugger, free food and drinks. Fans will be allowed access to the shop floor Wednesday for an up close view of the team’s Toyotas as it prepares for the racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Legendary gas man Danny "Chocolate" Myers and veteran broadcaster Jim Noble will bring their Sirius-XM Radio show “Tradin Paint” to the open house broadcasting from MWR. MWR is at 20310 Chartwell Center Drive off exit 28 on I-77 in Cornelius, N.C. about 15 miles north of Charlotte, N.C. The race shop is open to the public throughout the year. Autograph Schedules: Jeff Burton 11 a.m. –Noon; Clint Bowyer Noon – 1 p.m. and Michael Waltrip 1-2 p.m. Brian Vickers will be testing at Kentucky Speedway and not be in attendance.

• CHASSIS: Primary: 797 finished seventh in Fontana, Calif. Backup: 801 has not raced.

• AARON’S: Aaron’s joined MWR in 2000 serving as a primary sponsor in Sprint Cup and Nationwide races. The Atlanta-based company has grown from 500 to 2,100 stores in that time. Aaron's carries only the best brand names in furniture, electronics, appliances and computers and offers a variety of flexible payment options. It's really easy to get started owning at Aaron's - you are pre-approved for up to $2,500 in merchandise without needing credit. Visit Aarons.com for more information.

• CREW CHIEF BILLY SCOTT: The 2014 Daytona 500 marked the first race for No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Crew Chief Billy Scott. The 36-year-old began racing motorcycles as a 5-year-old and stock cars when he turned 15. He worked in the truck series as a mechanic before he returned to college to obtain an engineering degree. After graduating in 2005 Scott worked at Robert Yates Racing and began as an engineer at MWR in 2008. He served exclusively as the No. 55 team’s lead engineer the last two seasons.

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