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Jun 11, 2014 - 06:22 AM
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2014 Michigan: Brian Vickers NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Jun 11, 2014 - 06:22 AM
2014 Michigan: Brian Vickers NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Michigan International Speedway this weekend with just 12 races remaining before the sport’s 16-team playoffs begin. Michael Waltrip Racing’s two fulltime drivers Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer are both in the battle to secure one of those 16 spots.


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Under the new rules a win likely earns a spot in the Chase while those without wins will rely on points to gain a berth. That makes for some sleepless nights for the men that run these race teams. Scott Miller, MWR’s vice president of competition, said the new format provides greater rewards for winning, but the drive to win has always been the mission at MWR.

SCOTT MILLER: “We are trying to get the best finishes we can every single week. We are focused on fielding the best cars we can that are capable of winning. Obviously, if we can close the deal and get a win then we are in great shape with both cars. But, winning at this level is very difficult. Outside of our two drivers, I’m fine if we don’t see any more first time winners in 2014 (laughing.) That just leaves more spots open if we can’t get a win. But, we are confident at MWR that we can close the deal. The cars have been running good enough and we have some good tracks coming up. We’ll see if we can get that victory.”

TRACK WITH HIGH HOPES: “I feel like Sonoma is obviously a good place for MWR. Road courses are really, really hard to close the deal. We have had tremendous success there winning the last two races and Brian always runs good on road courses. We expect to go back there and run competitively. But, I give ourselves a chance of being competitive in all the upcoming races.”

IS THIS NERVE-RACKING? “Everything about this sport is nerve-racking if you want it to be. I think you have to be insane to do this, but all of us love it. The new format places more emphasis on winning, but it was nerve -racking under the old way. If you were eighth through 12th under the old system you were on pins and needles those last five races. If you were 13th you were trying to claw your way in. Under the new format you have the same concerns.”

· CHASSIS: Primary: 808 finished 26th at Darlington and tested at Kentucky & Pocono. Backup: 801 finished 13th at Las Vegas.

· 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.

· VICKERS AT MICHIGAN: Vickers won the pole at MIS for the fall race in 2008 and both poles in 2009. He won the 2009 fall race.

· FANTERN: Each week MWR offers fans a chance to become an official MWR Fantern. This person will get the opportunity to be an “intern” on race day helping the pit crews with set-up activities, attending driver appearances and getting full access to the pit and garage areas. Fans can write in a submission to webmaster@michaelwaltrip.com or share a video on our social channels explaining why they should be the Fantern at the race of their choosing during the 2014 season.

· AARON’S: Aaron’s joined MWR in 2000 serving as a primary sponsor in Sprint Cup and Nationwide races. The Atlanta-based company, with more than 2,130 stores across the country, helps customers own the life they want. Aaron's carries only the best brand names in furniture, electronics, and appliances with a variety of flexible payment options. It's really easy to “Own it” at Aaron’s with customers who are now pre-approved for up to $2,500 in merchandise without needing credit. Visit Aarons.com to find a store near you.

· #ASKMWR: Throughout race weekends in 2014 MWR will collect questions hash-tagged #AskMWR on its @MWRteam Twitter handle. No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Jackman Wes Evans will host a 3-minute video each Wednesday on www.michaelwaltripracing.com featuring MWR experts answering the best fan questions from the weekend.

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