GMAC Racing Experiences Roller Coaster Ride at Texas
- Mar 31, 2003
FORT WORTH, Texas (March 31, 2003) – Saturday was a day to remember for the GMAC Racing team at Texas Motor Speedway.
After starting fifth in the O’Reilly 300, Brian Vickers marched his No. 5 Chevrolet into the lead on Lap 15 and held the top spot until Lap 43 when pit stops shuffled the field. On Lap 54, Vickers once again regained the lead and it was apparent that GMAC Racing had the car to beat during the sixth NASCAR Busch Series event of 2003.
Almost as if Vickers had put on the cruise control, he opened up a 2.3-second margin over the second-place car of Todd Bodine.
On Lap 145, green-flag pit stops began to take place and on Lap 15 Vickers steered the No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevy down pit road for what was expected to be the final stop of the day. The team quickly changed four tires, added fuel and sent Vickers on his way.
After re-entering the race in sixth on Lap 171, a caution flag on Lap 178 allowed Vickers to move into the top spot once again.
On the Lap 178 restart, Vickers was black-flagged for passing the No. 19 entry of rookie Chad Blount before crossing the start-finish line, though it looked as if the No. 19 missed a shift, forcing Vickers to dip down to avoid contact.
Fortunately, Vickers came in to serve his stop-and-go penalty during a caution period and restarted the race on Lap 191 in ninth. The yellow flag bunched the field again and trapped the 19-year-old driver in a cluster of cars instead of being in the lead where he should have been.
Moments later, Vickers was caught in a large multi-car crash in Turn 1, which caused major damage to the No. 5 Chevrolet.
The GMAC team worked feverishly to make repairs and get the car back on the track, but the event ended with Vickers in 25th, despite leading a race-high 87 laps.
“I respect the people of NASCAR and the jobs they do,” Vickers said. “But this is a situation in which I have to disagree with them. We had the car to beat and I feel like an opportunity for a win was taken away from us.”
Joe Nemechek, who drives the No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, nabbed the Busch Series win at Texas Motor Speedway in his own No. 87 Chevrolet.