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GMAC Racing Finishes 14th at Bristol

  • Mar 22, 2003

BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 22, 2003) – Good teams are able to overcome adversity and that’s exactly what the GMAC team did during Saturday’s Channellock 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Though he was forced to start at the rear of the field for going to a backup car, it didn’t take Brian Vickers long to begin his march to the front. In a race plagued by caution flags, Vickers and the GMAC team salvaged what could have been a long afternoon by finishing 14th.

Once the race started, it took Vickers only three laps to gain 11 positions and move into 31st, but on Lap 17 a flat left-front tire forced him to pit under the green flag. With the leaders clicking off laps in the 15-second range, a miscue in the pits cost the GMAC team extra time and put them four laps down to the leader. But Vickers quickly made up two laps with the help of several timely caution flags.

On Lap 60, Vickers radioed his crew that the car was loose entering the corners and too tight in the middle. On Lap 63, the GMAC team elected to pit for four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Vickers restarted the race on Lap 65 in 28th.

It was obvious on the restarts that the No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet was fast, but lapped traffic impeded Vickers’ ability to get close enough to the leaders to gain another lap back. On Lap 96 Vickers picked up another lap and three laps later pitted for fuel and a track bar adjustment.

Another setback for the team came on Lap 121 when they discovered a flat right-front tire, which most likely contributed to the ill-handling condition of the No. 5 Chevrolet. The team changed tires and made adjustments to the air pressure and track bar.

At the halfway point, Vickers was running in 21st on the heels of the leaders and was desperately seeking another opportunity to get back on the lead lap. Several accidents late in the race took some of the lead-lap cars out of contention and Vickers was able to move into 17th on Lap 186.

With eight laps remaining in the race another accident involving two of the front-runners in Turn 2 forced NASCAR to stop the race to allow for cleanup. The race was restarted on Lap 245 with Vickers in 14th, the first car one lap down. With the help of another caution flag, Vickers maintained his position to finish 14th.

Saturday’s finish was the team’s fourth consecutive top-15 finish.

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